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Wednesday, 9 May 1984
Page: 1855

Senator MACKLIN —Mr Deputy President, I claim to have been misrepresented.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —As the honourable senator has not spoken in the debate he is not entitled to speak to his being misrepresented. He can make a statement by leave if he can get leave.

Senator MACKLIN —I seek leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

Senator MACKLIN —The previous speaker, Senator Townley, made two points in relation to the Australian Democrats that I wish to answer. I will talk on the general substantive matter later.

Senator Tate —That is not personal. What is the personal explanation?

Senator Mason —He sought leave to make a statement.

Senator Archer —No, a personal explanation.

Senator Tate —We understood that to be a matter of personal explanation.

Senator Archer —We didn't give leave for that.

Senator MACKLIN —Mr Deputy President, I wonder whether I could actually make the statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Yes, you may. Senator Macklin has leave to make a statement explaining a personal matter. He may proceed.

Senator MACKLIN —Mr Deputy President, the two items are--

Senator Tate —Why don't you ask him what he is seeking leave for?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Senator Macklin has the call.

Senator Archer —Oh, come on, you clown.

Senator MACKLIN —Mr Deputy President, I ask that that interjection be withdrawn. I find that insulting.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I did not hear the remark. Senator Macklin, what remark are you seeking to have withdrawn? I am told that Senator Archer called Senator Macklin a clown. If so, he should withdraw the remark.

Senator Archer —I did call him a clown; I was flattering him.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Archer will withdraw that remark.

Senator Archer —Yes. I withdraw.

Senator MACKLIN —The two items I wish to raise on what Senator Townley said are as follows: First, he said that I did not go to the Chairman--

Senator Townley —To my knowledge.

Senator MACKLIN —He said I did not go to the Chairman or to the Deputy Chairman. In fact I did speak to the Chairman, and if Senator Townley had bothered to check he would have found that out. As the rest of what he had to say was a tissue of make-believe and fictitious humbug his allegation is also in the same category. He did not bother to check whether or not I had spoken to the Chairman . Indeed, I had spoken to the Chairman. The other point was in relation to the Democrats serving on committees. I will tell the Senate, for the sake of Senator Townley, whether or not we carry our load. This is the current situation for the parties in this place in relation to service on committees. The Australian Labor party has 2.36 committee positions per senator; the Liberal Party of Australia has 1.79 positions per senator--

Senator Jack Evans —They are bludgers.

Senator MACKLIN —The Democrats have two positions per senator. The National Party--

Senator MacGibbon —Mr Deputy President, I take a point of order. The interjection by Senator Jack Evans that members of the Liberal Party are bludgers should be withdrawn. It is most unparliamentary.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Senator Jack Evans should withdraw that remark.

Senator Jack Evans —I withdraw it.

Senator MACKLIN —The figures were: The Labor Party 2.36 positions, the Liberal Party 1.79 positions, the National Party 2 positions and the Democrats 2 positions. Likewise, the independent senator is on two committees. In other words, if one looks at the amount of work which is done on committees by the Australian Democrats one sees that we carry more than our load. The comment on the type of work that the Democrats do is a reflection on our ability to cope with legislation or committee work. At a later stage in this debate I hope to be able to get the call to discuss the Committee report.