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Wednesday, 17 November 2004
Page: 9


Mr ANDERSON (Minister for Transport and Regional Services) (NaN:59:00) —Briefly, I just want to say that I completely repudiate the member for New England's allegations of improper inducements offered indirectly by Senator Macdonald and me earlier this year. I would make the first point that there was no meeting on 18 May; I was in Queensland, in Bundaberg, on the evening of the 18th. I have on three or four occasions met Mr Maguire. In total I doubt that I have spent four or five hours with him. But I want to make it very plain that, at those meetings, neither I nor Senator Macdonald gave him any indication or authorisation to suggest to the member for New England—


The SPEAKER —Order! It being 8 p.m., the debate is interrupted.


Mr Anderson —Mr Speaker, I require that the debate be extended.


The SPEAKER —The debate will continue until 8.10 p.m.


Mr ANDERSON —any indication or authorisation—any indication of any nature whatsoever that he might be offered some inducement in return for not running for the seat of New England. I cannot know what representations Mr Maguire might have made at the meeting that apparently took place on 19 May, but I can know that he had no authority whatsoever—implied, nuanced or whatever—from me or from Senator Macdonald to stand aside in return for some inducement.

I understand that the police have interviewed a number of people in regard to this matter. They have not interviewed the member of my staff who was in attendance at the meeting that Senator Macdonald and I had with Mr Maguire. They have not interviewed Senator Macdonald. They have not interviewed me. But the matter is, of course, for them to take forward if they believe that there is a case that has to be answered by anyone.

My position is quite simple in this matter. I repudiate completely the claims. I do not engage in corrupt behaviour. So far as I am aware, at all times I have maintained what I believe to be both the law and the spirit of the law in relation to Australia's electoral matters. I think that matters. I think it is important. I think that people who know me know that I think those things are important. I said during the campaign that I would not do it. I have not done it and I would certainly not authorise anyone else to make those sorts of offers on my part. I said that during the campaign. I repeat it now. That is, so far as I am concerned, all that I intend saying on the matter.