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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Page: 3351


Mr OAKESHOTT (Lyne) (19:54): Speaker, I rise to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER: Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr OAKESHOTT: I do most grievously, Speaker.

The SPEAKER: Please proceed.

Mr OAKESHOTT: In the House between 5 and 5.30 pm today a debate took place with regard to suspension of standing orders to consider section 132 of the standing orders due to a vote that occurred earlier today when MPs were accidentally absent. In that debate the integrity of all crossbenchers, including me, was questioned by the Manager of Opposition Business. He made the following comments:

The right thing to do if they had any integrity at all would be for one of them to absent themselves from the vote or vote with the opposition to ensure the MP for Fairfax is paired.

Also, and I quote:

They may well want to pair themselves with the MP for Fairfax in order to ensure that this vote is not counted, because he has returned home. He is ill. He is incapable of being here.

I would not have any problem with vigorous debate and challenges to my integrity if the MP for Fairfax had indeed returned home and was sick or was incapable of voting. But he is none of the above, because I have seen him in the corridor tonight. I am also aware of at least one journalist who can confirm that the member for Fairfax is in the building tonight.

I would also have little regard for getting up and correcting the record if this was just an ordinary vote with a clear majority. But it was no ordinary vote. It was a vote that everyone knew, including the member for Sturt, had only one vote in it. My integrity was challenged by someone who was misleading me, misleading the crossbench and, as the record shows, misleading the House.