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Thursday, 13 February 2003
Page: 11846

Mr BALDWIN (3:24 PM) —Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER —Does the member for Paterson claim to have been misrepresented?


The SPEAKER —Please proceed.

Mr BALDWIN —Today in the Main Committee, the member for Hunter stated:

... the member for Paterson threatening and bullying council officers in his capacity as a federal member sitting in this place to get his way on his development in his local electorate.

I have just received a statement from the General Manager of Port Stephens Council. It says:

Port Stephens Council general manager Peter Gesling has responded to the allegations in federal parliament ... that council staff had been stood over and threatened by Councillor and Federal Port Stephens MP Bob Baldwin.

“At no time have staff reported any untoward conduct by Councillor Baldwin.

The SPEAKER —The member for Paterson has indicated where he has been misrepresented.

Mr BALDWIN —The statement continues:

Nor does the action required and taken by staff in relation to the unauthorised works on Councillor Baldwin's land suggest that council officers have treated this matter with anything but independence—

The SPEAKER —The member for Paterson cannot elaborate on an argument. He can indicate where he has been misrepresented, but that is all.

Mr Swan —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member for Paterson is completely out of order. I ask you to sit him down.

The SPEAKER —The member for Lilley will resume his seat. What ought to have been self-evident to the member for Lilley, and easier for him to see than me, was that I had taken the very action he has sought.

Mr BALDWIN —Further, the member for Hunter stated:

There have been two parcels of land in Palanda Court which have been unlawfully cleared—

inferring that I owned one and excavated the other. They are on opposite sides of the road; one has no connection with me.

Mr Rudd —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member for Paterson already made this statement at the beginning of batting this morning. This is a repeat—

The SPEAKER —I remind the member for Griffith of his status in the House. Further frivolous points of order will be dealt with. Matters of personal explanation are frequently brought to the chair's attention. Anyone who cares to exercise the integrity of checking yesterday's Hansard will find that the liberty extended to the member for Paterson is not only within the standing orders but parallels that which was offered yesterday to members on my left. The member for Fraser is, I am sure, conscious of this.

Mr BALDWIN —These statements were made after I made my explanation. Finally, the member for Hunter stated that Councillor Geoff Robinson had carted away the excavated works and illegally dumped them in the sand dunes at Anna Bay. He also said he took the rock away and illegally dumped it under the sand dunes. I refute that—

The SPEAKER —Member for Paterson, I am not here to argue the toss with anyone in this House. The member for Paterson must be aware that a point of personal explanation must be with respect to where the member has been misrepresented. The latter one indicated a misrepresentation of a councillor.

Mr BALDWIN —It concerns me, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER —I wish the member for Paterson had indicated that earlier in his remarks.

Mr BALDWIN —I was paraphrasing what the member for Hunter had said. I have a letter from Robinson's Earthmoving stating that they have had no contract or arrangement with me and have never excavated or transported any material from my block of land. I seek to table the letters from Robinson's Earthmoving and Port Stephens Council which will clarify these facts.

Leave granted.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER —If I could identify who made the remark, I would require it to be withdrawn.

Mr Fitzgibbon —On indulgence, Mr Speaker: it might assist the House if the member for Paterson—

The SPEAKER —As the member for Hunter, who has had a great deal of experience in the House, will know, this is an unusual item on which to grant indulgence. I will listen closely to what he is saying. I obviously do not expect the matter to be abused.

Mr Fitzgibbon —It might assist the House if the member for Paterson clarified whether there were illegal excavation works or whether he is now denying that.

The SPEAKER —The member for Hunter will resume his seat.