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Friday, 20 February 1987
Page: 469


Mr PUNCH —Mr Deputy Speaker, I claim to have been misrepresented and I wish to make a personal explanation.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Leo McLeay) -The honourable member may proceed.


Mr PUNCH —Last night in the Senate Senator Peter Baume rose in regard to a speech made by the honourable member for Fowler (Mr Grace) on 9 October last year about the Delany Hall Nursing Home in my electorate. He was obviously more concerned with drawing an extremely long bow because I am in a marginal seat than defending the reputation of the nursing home involved, as he stated. In what was quite a sleazy action he reported to the Senate that `no action has been taken by Gary Punch'.


Mr Spender —Mr Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order. Senator Peter Baume is a member of the Senate. The Standing Orders state that imputations shall not be made against members of the House or the Senate. The words used, that it was a `sleazy action', are both unparliamentary and a breach of the Standing Orders and they should be withdrawn.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —The honourable member for Barton might withdraw and continue to explain the misrepresentation.


Mr PUNCH —I withdraw the term `sleazy'. In an action quite clearly not based on fact, Senator Peter Baume reported to the Senate that `no action has been taken by Gary Punch, the member for Barton, who has been contacted to set the record straight or to try to answer . . .'. This allegation is untrue. What is more, at no time did Senator Baume ask me or my office whether this was the case. He clearly was not interested and under the pretext of active interest in the matter he was simply concerned with scoring points.


Mr Spender —Mr Deputy Speaker, that has gone well beyond a personal explanation. It is getting to a debate involving Senator Baume. The honourable member should be restricted to making a personal explanation and to that alone.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member is explaining where he was misrepresented by Senator Baume.


Mr Spender —Let him come to it and deal with it.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for North Sydney might listen but will not direct the Chair.


Mr Spender —I might advise the Chair.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —I have not sought the advice of the honourable member for North Sydney; I doubt that I will need to.


Mr PUNCH —As I was saying, under the pretext of active interest in this matter, Senator Baume has been concerned simply with scoring points for a Liberal candidate, who obviously cannot do it for himself. The facts are that the matron of the nursing home came to see me on 10 December last after Parliament had risen. She has not been in contact with me since. I undertook to take the matter up personally with the honourable member for Fowler with a view to his correcting the record. I understand that the honourable member will do this in the near future. I was quite plainly misrepresented and place that on the record.