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Thursday, 25 September 2014
Page: 7205


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (17:53): In the five or six minutes I have left to me I will not have the opportunity of discussing at length the merits or otherwise of the proposal. Suffice it to say that were such a commission in existence, the first investigation might be the investigation into Mr Graham Wood's biggest ever political donation to the Greens political party a few years ago. Senators might remember that Mr Wood gave, I think it was, something like $1.5 million to the Greens political party. The Greens in Tasmania, as I remember the incident—and my memory is not all that good, it was a few years ago now—then did something in the Tasmanian parliament in relation to the Triabunna wood mill and port to assist Mr Wood in taking control of that site to the exclusion of the timber industry. The Greens then set up an inquiry in the federal parliament to try to get tax-free exemption for an online newspaper that Mr Graeme Wood was setting up as a commercial entity. The Greens advocated that Mr Wood should be given a tax-free status.

One would wonder just what the New South Wales ICAC might have said about that little cosy deal in the Tasmanian parliament and in the federal parliament at the time that Mr Wood gave that biggest ever political donation to any political party in Australia, and that was to the Greens political party.

Senator Ludlam: Mr Acting Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. I seek a ruling. Standing orders prevent senators from imputing the motives of other senators. Senator McDonald has been here longer than I have, and I ask for your ruling. If you believe that Senator Macdonald has crossed the line in imputing that a donation was effectively paid as a bribe in exchange for certain kinds of parliamentary behaviours, I ask that this entire monologue be withdrawn.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Mr Acting Deputy President, on the point of order—and this cuts in, of course, to the few minutes I have to speak—if Senator Ludlam thinks I am imputing bribery, well let that be in the eye of the beholder. I did not say those words.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Edwards ): Thank you Senator Macdonald. I will have the President review the transcript and, if there is anything in it, I will seek his direction on the matter.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I might point out to those who might be listening on a Thursday afternoon that there is a tactic of the Greens political party. They would tell you they are so keen on free speech, but they will take frivolous points of order just to stop me in the few minutes that I have left to make my contribution on this important motion before the time for the debate elapses. I might just say to Senator Ludlam in passing, I did not mention the word 'bribery', you mentioned that. But I do tell you this, Senator Ludlam, some of my colleagues in this chamber have actually used that word in years gone by. I do not recall you taking the point of order then. That is because a closer investigation into what happened with Mr Graeme Wood and this largest ever political donation to the Greens political party—at the time he was negotiating with the then Labor-Greens government in Tasmania about the Triabunna mill site—was all a little bit interesting. Then, lo and behold, at the same time we had this move by the Greens political party, by former Senator Bob Brown, to try to get a tax-free status for Mr Wood's new creation of an online newspaper.

I only have a few minutes left and my colleagues have gone into the substantive parts of the motion and I will too if I can. I noticed a lot of the Labor Party contributions mentioning alleged corruption against the Liberal Party. I could not help myself laughing. I come from Queensland. In Queensland we have Mr Gordon Nuttall, a minister in the Queensland Labor government actually serving time for bribery and corruption. For the Labor Party to even mention corruption in Queensland is just gobsmacking, I must say. Add to that, Karen Ehrmann, a poor old Labor councillor from the Townsville City Council, who was also jailed for fraud. Then, of course, you have Keith Wright, once upon a time the leader of the Labor Party in Queensland in jail; or he may be out by now, I am not sure. But he was in jail for certain offences. Then there was Mr Bill D'Arcy, a serving minister in the Queensland government serving time for some criminal activities. Of course, we have Mr Mike Kaiser who Senator Conroy appointed to a $500,000 job with the NBN as a government lobbying representative by NBN to lobby the government that set it up—it was just amazing. That was 500,000 Mr Kaiser got. I only mentioned Mr Kaiser because, as my Queensland friends will know, Mr Kaiser had to leave the Queensland parliament where he was a state member because of allegations of corruption, vote rigging and fraud. So for the Labor Party to raise these issues in this chamber is amazing. I do not have time to go into— (Time expired)