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Thursday, 18 October 1984
Page: 1979

Senator PETER RAE —Mr President, I claim to have been misrepresented in today's edition of the Canberra Times and I seek leave to make a personal explanation in relation to that matter.

Leave granted.

Senator PETER RAE —I make this personal explanation because this matter was raised in a question during Question Time and I would now like to make the situation quite clear. Previously, I had intended simply to write to the editor of the Canberra Times. In fact I have in front of me the letter which I had drafted to send to the editor in which I have lodged a complaint and made certain suggestions. What happened yesterday at the Company Directors Association luncheon was that I referred to the importance of the regulation, deregulation and reform of the regulatory process policy which Senator Missen and I had issued on behalf of the Opposition parties the day before.

I referred to the fact that the large committee which had prepared the policy had analysed the lessons of the past Government and in particular the lessons of the razor gang and had learnt that one cannot use the regulators to be the chief deregulators because that is inherently unlikely to be successful. I did say that I would have to confess that that was not a successful way of going about deregulation. What I was saying was in the context of learning from experience and using people who had experience such as people who had experience with parliamentary committees, for example, Senator Missen, who was Chairman of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances and the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs. Senator Missen was heavily involved in the whole question of regulation-making processes for a considerable period and has represented Australia overseas in that capacity. Another such person would be Mr David Connolly who for a long time was Chairman of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts. In my own capacity as Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations I was concerned with statutory authorities and other areas of regulation making, the form of regulation and the deregulation that should take place. We prepared a policy which I regarded as being credible and workable and would be a successful policy .

I also referred to the fact that we had the razor gang problems of regulators being used to advocate deregulation but, notwithstanding that, we had been successful in containing Public Service growth-

Senator Robertson —Mr President, I take a point of order. With the greatest of respect, Senator Peter Rae is going well beyond a normal personal explanation. An indication should be given of where the fault lay and a straight response to it made. Senator Rae is debating the issue and putting a party's policy.

The PRESIDENT —Yes. I suggest to Senator Peter Rae that he claimed to have been misrepresented and sought leave to make a personal explanation. I ask him to confine his remarks to the personal explanation.

Senator PETER RAE —Thank you very much, Mr President. I was endeavouring to say what I said. I was then going to describe the way in which it was misreported. I was leading up to the misreporting. I cannot identify the misreport unless I explain what I said.

The PRESIDENT —It makes it very difficult, Senator Peter Rae, and the situation gets completely out of hand if we allow the personal explanation to get too wide . I suggest that you try to restrict your remarks to stating where you have been misreported and correcting the misreport.

Senator PETER RAE —I can summarise it by saying that the quotations which appear in the Canberra Times to which the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Senator Button, made reference were taken totally out of the context in which they were made. I was endeavouring to explain the context in which they were made but have not been permitted to do so because of objection taken by the Government. So I will have to work out another way in which to explain the context of my remarks and how this report takes them out of context. The report was a misrepresentation of what was said because what I was doing was explaining how it had come about that a development had taken place of what I believe to be a successful policy, learning from some of the lessons of the past. I referred to some of the successes of the past. It is a complete misrepresentation to report me as though I were only critical of the past Government when, in fact, I was talking about the successes of the Campbell Committee of Inquiry into the Australian Financial System, the review of Trans Australia Airlines, Australia Post Express Courier and other matters.