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Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Page: 1266

Senator MILNE (TasmaniaDeputy Leader of the Australian Greens) (17:09): Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator MILNE: It had not been my intention to comment further, but the disingenuous remarks of Senator Abetz require a response. Firstly, the Australian Greens did not discuss any matter concerning Senator Abetz and its referral to the Privileges Committee at that time. Let me put that on the record. Secondly, Senator Abetz referred to media releases. What he did not say was that the media releases were in response to media releases and media coverage generated by Senator Abetz. Both in this chamber and outside on 6 July Senator Abetz put out lengthy press releases and chronologies which canvassed the matters which some months later became the subject of a reference to the Privileges Committee. Any media generated subsequently was in response to his attempt to beat up a story to besmirch the reputations of Senator Brown and me. I think it is important for anyone who is interested to realise that Senator Abetz on 6 July 2011 started the process in the media, and it was reported in Tasmania on the Tasmanian Times.