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Thursday, 26 March 1998
Page: 1724


Mr LEO McLEAY —Yesterday during question time the Minister for Workplace Relations and Small Business purported to read from a letter he had received from a wharfie in Brisbane. Under standing order 321 I asked him to table the letter. He did not have the letter with him, and he gave an undertaking that he would give me a copy of it later in the day. Of course, as usual, he has broken his word.


Mr SPEAKER —The honourable member will not reflect on the minister.


Mr LEO McLEAY —It is the truth. He said that he would table the letter and he hasn't.


Mr SPEAKER —The honourable member will not reflect on the minister. He will withdraw that remark. He can ask his question of me quite properly.


Mr LEO McLEAY —I withdraw. Yesterday the minister gave his word that he would give me a copy of that letter. The minister has not kept his word because I have not received a copy of the letter. I think most people would say that means he has probably broken his word, but I will not say that.


Mr SPEAKER —The honourable member will resume his seat.


Mr LEO McLEAY —I will not say that because that would not be fair to the minister. Mr Speaker, would you write to the minister and ask him to keep to his word?


Mr SPEAKER —I ask the Minister for Workplace Relations and Small Business whether he has the letter and whether he will table it.


Mr REITH (Workplace Relations and Small Business) —Mr Speaker, when I was asked to table the documents that I had with me yesterday, I then proceeded to table all of the documents. The member for Watson has made some accusations, and I think it is fair enough that I should answer those. I understood the position to be that, if he really wanted a copy of the letter, he would let me know.

Opposition members interjecting


Mr REITH —But let me finish, before you make your points, Leo.


Mr Leo McLeay —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I claim to have been misrepresented by the minister in that he said yesterday—


Mr SPEAKER —You will raise that at another time. Now is not the time for personal misrepresentations.


Mr Leo McLeay —He has misrepresented me, and I can do that now if you have a look at the standing orders.


Mr SPEAKER —The honourable member will resume his seat. The minister has the call.


Mr REITH —Mr Speaker, I am happy to table the letter. I am happy to table all of the material that I have now with me, including that letter. I will table the letters that I read out during question time.

Mr Crean interjecting


Mr REITH —Well, you can read it. I will read it out for you if you like, because I rather like reading it. I am happy to table that letter. I am happy to table all the other material I have. I even have `Wharfies work for strip show Reith'. I would be happy to table that one. What about this one? This is a cartoon in the Western Australian. That is a good one.


Mr Crean —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. The minister was asked to table one letter—the one that he alluded to yesterday and he did not. That is what you should require him to table.


Mr SPEAKER —Has the minister the letter?


Mr REITH —Mr Speaker, I am going to table absolutely everything. In my file yesterday—


Mr SPEAKER —Has the minister the letter that has been requested? Has the letter been tabled?


Mr REITH —There it is, Mr Speaker.


Mr SPEAKER —Has the letter been tabled?


Mr REITH —Yes, it has, Mr Speaker.


Mr SPEAKER —The letter has been tabled. Thank you.


Opposition members —Sit down!


Mr REITH —The point I am making, Mr Speaker, before I am howled out—


Opposition members —Sit down!


Mr SPEAKER —Minister, I think you should resume your seat. Has the honourable member for Curtin a point of order?


Mr Rocher —No, I ask that the minister table the documents.


Mr SPEAKER —Unfortunately, at this stage he is going beyond the request. I asked him specifically to table a letter. He has tabled that letter and the minister has now resumed his seat.


Mr Tuckey —Mr Speaker, in the light of the member for Watson's concern about bringing matters to the attention of this House, the member for Jagajaga yesterday advised the minister of a case that needed immediate attention. The letter that she had the minister invited her to bring across—and you haven't.


Mr SPEAKER —There is no point of order. The honourable member for O'Connor will resume his seat.