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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 2873

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (20:00): Mr Deputy President, before we deal with the tabling of the speech by the Leader of the Opposition, I seek leave to make a very short statement in response to a statement that Senator Ludwig gave by leave at 4.30 pm.

Leave granted.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I thank the Senate. During question time today Senator Ludwig denied that he and Mr Burke, and indeed the Gillard government, had received a proposal from the Queensland government in relation to the grazing in Queensland national parks of 300,000 drought affected cattle. Senator Ludwig came to the chamber at 4.30 this afternoon and said that he was also advised that the date recorded for the receipt of the letter that the Queensland government alleged they sent was recorded as 16 May. Senator Ludwig said that his ministerial and electorate office staff had searched fax machines and emails and they have not found a copy of a fax or an email sent from the Queensland government. He also went on to say:

I note that a letter was addressed to Mr Burke at a post office box in Roselands in New South Wales. At the end of question time Mr Burke's office advised my office that the proposal had not been received at his post office box, or by fax or email at either his electorate or parliamentary office.

I have before me copies of emails from the Queensland government to Mr Burke at, dated Tuesday 14 May at 1.54 pm, sending a copy of the letter making the application for help that I referred to today. A similar letter was at the same time emailed to Senator Ludwig.

The fact that Mr Burke last night told the media that he had been approached, and he commented on the application, I think proves the fact that Mr Burke did actually receive that, contrary to what Senator Ludwig said in question time and contrary to what he said at 4.30 this afternoon in his statement by leave to the chamber.

Mr Deputy President, I will seek leave in due course to table this email from the Queensland minister's office to Mr Burke, dated 14 May 2013 at 1.54 pm. I conclude this statement by indicating that at 4.52 this afternoon my office received confirmation from the Queensland government that the emails had been delivered on Tuesday, with a copy of their email logs. I do not quite understand what that means, but apparently it is proof in jargon that the email to Mr Burke was received. I also understand—I am not sure how people can do this—that Senator Ludwig himself obtained the same email log at 4.48 pm, having made his speech denying all knowledge of the email in the Senate approximately 10 minutes before.