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Monday, 25 February 1985
Page: 115


Senator HARRADINE —by leave-I claim to have been misrepresented-


Senator Walsh —I seek a ruling, Mr Deputy President. Senator Harradine has initiated legal proceedings regarding this matter and I seek a ruling from you as to whether he can comment on it in the Senate.


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I do not know what matter Senator Harradine is going to raise. He has been granted leave to make a personal explanation. If he refers to matters that are in my opinion sub judice in effect, I will pull him up. In the meantime, Senator Harradine has the call.


Senator HARRADINE —Thank you, Mr Deputy President. I claim to have been misrepresented again for, I think, the fourth time by Senator Walsh on this particular matter. I refer honourable senators to the four Hansard reports on this question last year. It will save me repeating what-


Senator Walsh —On a point of order, we now know the matter to which Senator Harradine refers. He has issued a stop writ in the Australian Capital Territory court because I publicly outside this chamber have made statements on precisely that matter. I seek your ruling as to whether he is entitled, given that legal proceedings have been initiated, to bore the Senate yet again with his feeble excuses.


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —The sub judice rule is enforced in this chamber if, in the opinion of the Chair, the remarks being made would adversely affect the interests of people before the courts. Nothing that Senator Harradine has said so far in my opinion is covered by that rule. He is merely answering remarks made earlier by Senator Walsh. Senator Harradine will no doubt bear that rule in mind. If he does not I will pull him up. I call Senator Harradine.


Senator HARRADINE —Thank you, Mr Deputy President. Yes, I have been misrepresented. Senator Walsh is entirely incorrect in his description of my vote in 1982 and my vote last year in respect of a particular matter. The fact is-it is clear to everybody-that I voted to outlaw bottom of the harbour schemes and for legislation to ensure that those who had breached the law were brought to justice. What I was not prepared to do, as honourable senators realise, was to vote for legislation which established an entirely new tax to be levied retrospectively on the innocent and the guilty alike. That was consistent with my support for the rule of law. I am certain that those who read the Hansard will see precisely the principles upon which I decided that issue, that I decided correctly and that Senator Walsh in fact is wrong. What Senator Walsh is doing--


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Harradine, you must not in a personal explanation debate the issue. You have explained where you were misrepresented and I think that is enough unless you wish to continue with any--


Senator HARRADINE —Thank you, Mr Deputy President. I am trying to mitigate my remarks but I wish to demonstrate to everyone what Senator Walsh really is doing. I did not wish to call him straight out a purveyor of untruth; so one has to see why he is doing it.


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Harradine, you are not entitled to debate Senator Walsh's motives. You are entitled only to describe how you have been misrepresented.


Senator Georges —Mr Deputy President, I raise a point of order. It is fairly obvious that your earlier ruling is now being transgressed. I cannot see how Senator Harradine, having taken a course which one would question-that is, he has taken action against another honourable senator in the courts-can possibly support his case in the Senate. Obviously, he is covering the grounds of his complaint before the courts. Having done that, having taken that initiative, he should not then continue to raise the matter by way of debate or personal explanation in the Senate.


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Thank you, Senator Georges. Senator Harradine is entitled in the personal explanation he is making to reply to remarks that were made about him by Senator Walsh. He is not entitled to debate Senator Walsh's motives and should confine his personal explanation to matters of a personal nature in which he has been affected. He must not debate the issue. I call Senator Harradine.


Senator HARRADINE —Thank you, Mr Deputy President. I simply point out, as I did the other day, that there are constitutional measures to obtain the passing of this legislation through the Parliament. The Government chose not to adopt those measures. It could have had this legislation through the Parliament on the first day that it sat by holding a joint sitting, had it chosen to go to a double dissolution on that question.