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Wednesday, 12 September 1984
Page: 894


Senator HARRADINE(3.15) —Yesterday while I was absent in my electorate the Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator Walsh, used parliamentary privilege during Question Time to make a baseless insinuation that I support bottom of the harbour tax dodging schemes. The facts are that I have been a consistent opponent of such schemes and have voted in the Senate to outlaw them and for measures to prosecute those who have broken the law. Consistent with my support for the rule of law, I have refused to vote for legislation creating new tax liabilities, which never previously existed, to be imposed retrospectively on the innocent and guilty alike. My concern, and the major reason for making the statement, is really for those ordinary members of the public who may believe and imprudently repeat the irrational tirades of Senator Walsh which he makes in his coward's castle. I have taken legal action against three such imprudent people. Senator Walsh, however, continues to make his entirely untruthful McCarthyist and unfair attacks on my integrity. I believe he should now be given the opportunity to put up or shut up and he has given me that opportunity by what he did yesterday in the Parliament. On page 771 of Hansard, in answer to a question from Senator Crowley, he stated:

One of the reasons was that our planned crackdown on tax evasion has been aborted on several occasions in the Senate. My attention has been drawn today to an excellent pamphlet issued by Senators Elstob, Foreman, Bolkus, Maguire and Crowley.

He continued:

If I may, however, be pardoned for making one small criticism of that pamphlet . . . it does not mention that Senator Harradine is equally culpable.

He stated that the Opposition was culpable and three of the Australian Democrats were culpable. He also stated that although it was an excellent pamphlet, he had one small criticism of it; that is, 'it does not mention Senator Harradine'. He then tabled the document and I obtained a copy of that document from the Senate Records and Table Office. I have read the document and I am most interested in it. I now invite Senator Walsh-since he says this is an excellent document and since he has apparently adopted its contents, with the exception of my name being absent from it-at half past three this afternoon to go out onto the steps of Parliament House and include my name with the names of the Democrats, to authorise this document and to publish it. This is an opportunity for him either to put up or shut up.