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Friday, 20 March 1987
Page: 1250

Mr CONNOLLY —I seek leave to make a personal explanation.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr CONNOLLY —Yes, I do.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —The honourable member may proceed.

Mr CONNOLLY —In his response to a question today on Aboriginal Affairs, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Holding) attacked Mr John Laws under parliamentary privilege. He also referred to my involvement as a shadow Minister in recent programs on radio station 2GB on the subject of waste on Aboriginal programs funded by the Commonwealth. I was invited to comment on these matters by Mr Laws last Friday and again today. I endeavoured to give a balanced response to examples of waste and maladministration of Aboriginal programs. As I was concerned that the program not be seen as biased against Aborigines, last Wednesday I suggested to the Minister that he should ring Mr Laws and go on the program. It is a regret to me that he did not do so, thus failing to defend in public the policies that he now claims to attack.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member can go to where he has been misrepresented, not the affairs of other members.

Mr CONNOLLY —I have been most seriously misrepresented by virtue of the fact that the Minister, in his response to that question during Question Time today, deliberately linked me with what he believed were excessive remarks made on the program.

Mr Holding —I think you will find that the Hansard record does not support you.

Mr CONNOLLY —Precisely. But I am simply saying--

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member will complete his explanation.

Mr CONNOLLY —The point I am very simply making is that the comments made by Mr Laws, which have now been the subject of attack under parliamentary privilege, were simply saying what many Australians, including Aborigines, are generally concerned about.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Bradfield knows that he must say where he was misrepresented. It is neither up to him, nor is he able to make any--

Mr CONNOLLY —Basically what the Minister is implying is that I am a racist. I simply object to that.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member can discuss that, but he cannot make any comment on whether or not Mr Laws was attacked. That is not within his purview.