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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 2586


Senator BOB BROWN (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (12:39): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator BOB BROWN: Mr President, this matter has been largely dealt with in a dissent motion from your ruling at the time. It is being revisited by Senator Abetz because he has had a quite substantial win in this matter—that through the Privileges Committee Senator Milne and I have been found totally innocent of the charges that were made but left with a $70,000 bill to pay. That is a matter for—

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Brown, resume your seat. I am giving you the call, but you are entitled to be heard in silence.

Senator BOB BROWN: It was a SLAPP writ. It was entirely successful; it went, through your reference and your advice, to the committee. Senator Abetz has called this a 'legal folly', but let me warn every other member of the chamber that the opportunity comes here for people to move against each other on completely concocted charges, as we saw here, and then leave the senators with that impost. It is a complete breakdown of natural justice.