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Tuesday, 30 November 2004
Page: 18


Mr ANDERSON (Acting Prime Minister) (3:18 PM) —I rise very briefly, Mr Speaker, to confirm that, when I have finished pulling together the paperwork that I made a commitment yesterday to the Leader of the Opposition that I would table, I will do so. I am not quite at that point yet.


Mr Latham —I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Does that relate to the R.M. Williams centre or to the request regarding the ethanol project in Gunnedah and also Tumbi Creek?


Mr Anderson —No.

Honourable members interjecting


The SPEAKER —I think the minister has just answered your question.

Opposition members interjecting—


The SPEAKER —The Leader of the Opposition: the Acting Prime Minister has just answered that point.



Mr Anderson —The member for Batman just said, `Oh, he hasn't written those ones,' clearly implying that I am going to actually fabricate such information as I undertook to table. He should withdraw without reservation.


The SPEAKER —The honourable member for Batman will withdraw that.


Mr Martin Ferguson —It was not unparliamentary, and I have no intention of withdrawing it.

Honourable members interjecting


The SPEAKER —The honourable member for Batman, I am afraid I did not hear what you said but, if the Acting Prime Minister finds it offensive, you will withdraw.


Ms Gillard —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. Earlier in question time, I pointed to two expressions used by a minister which were offensive. You only required one to be withdrawn. The test can therefore not be whether or not the Acting Prime Minister finds it offensive; the test has to be whether or not it was unparliamentary. The member for Batman contends that it was not, and he is right in that contention.


The SPEAKER —The honourable member for Batman, I have asked you to withdraw.


Mr Martin Ferguson —With all respect, Mr Speaker, it is not unparliamentary and I have no intentions of withdrawing.


The SPEAKER —If the member chooses to defy the chair, I will take action.


Mr Latham —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. Surely it stands to reason that, if the Acting Prime Minister was willing to table the documentation, no member of the opposition would have a suspicion that it is yet to be written—


The SPEAKER —There is no point of order.


Mr Latham —and I would have thought that if the Acting Prime Minister—


The SPEAKER —There is no point of order, and the Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. The member for Batman is defying the chair. I will ask him once more to withdraw.


Mr Martin Ferguson —I repeat, Mr Speaker: it was not unparliamentary and I will not withdraw and bow to your intimidatory pressure to protect the other side of the House.


The SPEAKER —The member for Batman will remove himself from the chamber forthwith for one hour.

The member for Batman then left the chamber.