Source: The Mercury, 19 September, 1995

Lawrence plays
down inquiry
memory loss

John Ferguson in Canberra

Federal Health Minister 
Carmen Lawrence yesterday 
faced another sustained 
attack over the Easton af-
fair but made her first 
serious return to the 
policy debate for weeks.

The Opposition yesterday 
pushed ahead with its at-
tacks on Dr. Lawrence des-
pite the Easton royal com-
mission being severely 
undermined in recent weeks.

Dr. Lawrence tried to play 
down the number of times 
she had "couldn't recall 
or remember" answers dur-
ing her day of evidence at 
the commission last week.

Dr. Lawrence used a series 
of statistics collated by 
her office to suggest that 
while she had failed to re-
call some key points during 
her evidence to the commiss-
ion, her recollection had 
been better than the average.

She had uttered 34,385 words 
at the inquiry and there had 
been a total 27 times where 
she could not recall or re-
member instances.

She said this translated to 
once every 1273 words compar-
ed with the commission average 
of witnesses being unable to 
recall or remember facts once 
every 951 words.

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