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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2331

Senator JESSOP —Mr President, I claim to have been misrepresented during an Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio program in Canberra in the week commencing 8 October 1984. I seek leave to make a personal explanation in relation to that matter.

Leave granted.

Senator JESSOP —During the week that I mentioned I found it quite unbelievable when Senator Haines in an ABC interview said, without any substantive proof or prior inquiry, that people had complained to her that it was virtually impossible for them to see or arrange appointments with senators and members of parliament and suggested that they are out of touch with the people, or words to that effect. This blatant general statement could not be further from the truth. My door has always been open to the public. I have made it a practice to go out to factories, schools and other institutions and have discussions with industry, commerce and technological organisations. I have made it a practice to meet the people at the work face and in regional areas so as to familiarise myself with their activities and discuss any work associated problems they may have. I have done this ever since I entered Parliament in 1966. I resent most strongly the implication in her interview that members of parliament, except herself, are inaccessible to the public and I believe it is quite unethical and unfair of her to use such a broad brush in order to cast doubts on my parliamentary integrity and the integrity of my colleagues, both Liberal and Labor. I believe that these hard working and publicly active Federal politicians, apparently unrecognised by her, would also take justifiable exception to her ignorant generalisation. It is interesting to note the recent happenings in South Australia where a Senate candidate for the Democrats--

The PRESIDENT —Order! The honourable senator is now going beyond making a personal explanation.

Senator JESSOP —Mr President, this sort of egotistical statement by Senator Haines gives rise to the accusation that the Democrats are dominated by feminists.