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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3228


Mr ROBERT (FaddenAssistant Minister for Defence) (15:20): I seek to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER: Does the minister claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr ROBERT: I do. This is the first time in seven years I have raised such an explanation against a journalist, in this case Mr O'Shea from the West Australian. In today's West Australian, he writes, on this day of all, that the renaming of the DSTO headquarters as the David Warren centre was a public relations opportunity, that it was a shameless attempt to cash in on the media attention with the loss of the aircraft and that Defence was clueless and did not realise the sensitivity. The timing of the event yesterday, attended by a wide section of the Australian community, was the 60th anniversary of the black box. This began three months ago, with a little 11-year-old girl called Eve Cogan, who began an online campaign, through change.org, to recognise the inventor of the black box by naming Canberra Airport after him. The decision was made to actually name a large building after him. Mr O'Shea did not check with my office. He did not speak to me about it. I think it is poor judgement on his part on this day, of all days, to reflect that a national memorial—of a building—to such a fine Australian should be seen as a public relations opportunity.

Ms Plibersek: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I ask the member for Lyons to withdraw the comment he made earlier. He knows what it was.

Mr Hutchinson: I made no such comment and I suggest that you withdraw your accusation.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence!

Mr PYNE: I think you were right earlier, Madam Speaker. I think it was a deliberate campaign today to disrupt the parliament.

The SPEAKER: It was.