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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2332

Senator GEORGES —by leave-I wish to make a personal explanation on a matter which occurred during Question Time. During Question Time I made a remark concerning the Clerks to which Senator Chipp took strong exception.

Senator Chipp —Your conscience was troubling you, wasn't it?

Senator GEORGES —It is not my conscience.

Senator Chipp —I do not know how you live with your conscience.

The PRESIDENT —Order! The Senate will come to order. Senator Georges has sought and been given leave to make a personal explanation and is entitled to be heard in silence.

Senator GEORGES —Senator Chipp, in responding to you, Mr President, referred to the Clerk's advice and suggested that you ought not to accept it. I suggest that that was an affront to the Clerks and to you, Mr President. The Clerks have a very difficult task to fulfil here. It is a task that should be invisible, and has been accepted as such. We do not refer to the Clerks or question their advice because we know that eventually you, Mr President, will make the decision . Senator Chipp ought to be aware of that now if he was not aware of it before. He took the opportunity because I said 'Leave the Clerks out of it' to engage in a tirade against me and to suggest that I go back to Queensland. I am getting a little tired of Senator Chipp. He comes into this place and accuses everyone else of hypocrisy but when he does that he excludes himself.

The PRESIDENT —Order! The honourable senator is entitled only to make a personal explanation in relation to himself. On the point that has been raised by Senator Georges, I state that I have the utmost faith in the competence of the advice that is tendered to me from time to time. Whether I accept it is a matter for me and me alone. On the matter that Senator Chipp raised, the Clerk gave me advice on a number of options and I chose a certain option.