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Friday, 1 June 1984
Page: 2342

Senator COATES(10.16) —I want to add to the remarks that I made earlier this morning. I refer to General Business notice of motion No. 72 in today's Notice Paper, Senator Baume's motion to refer to the Committee of Privileges evidence given to Estimates Committee D by Dr Taloni. I think it is very unfair to Dr Taloni to have this threat of a Privileges Committee hearing hanging over his head. I suspect that this whole matter should now come to a close. Apparently, even if the Opposition was not satisfied before, it can now say that it is satisfied with the explanations that have been given. In all decency I appeal to Senator Baume to withdraw his notice of motion. I ask that, in all fairness to Dr Taloni, this matter should now be closed.

Senator Peter Baume —Could I say, by way of interjection, that we are looking at our position on that matter. I note what the honourable senator has to say.

Senator COATES —At least the Opposition is thinking about it. I think that this matter has been thoroughly thrashed out. I believe that the Opposition should rethink the decision, which was made as a result of the sudden rush of blood to the head, to refer this matter to the Privileges Committee. I believe that the notice of motion should be withdrawn.

There has been very little debate on the actual estimates. We have been dealing with this matter for about 2 1/2 hours. We have only just got to the point of considering what may or what may not be described as a substantial matter. I think we ought to get on with getting the Appropriation Bills passed and let the public servants who have been sitting in the gallery and witnessing the debate on these irrelevant matters get back to their desks.