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Wednesday, 8 May 1985
Page: 1528


Senator COLSTON —Mr President, I seek leave to make a personal explanation on the basis that I have been misrepresented by a gross error made by a Queensland newspaper.

Leave granted.


Senator COLSTON —On the morning of Friday, 3 May, I received a telephone call at my home from a Mr Peter Cliff of the Central Queensland News. This publication is printed twice weekly in Emerald, a centre some 235 road kilometres west of Rockhampton. Emerald is by no means an insignificant centre. It has a population of about 6,000 people. Quite naturally a great proportion of Emerald's citizens regularly read the Central Queensland News.

Mr Cliff was quite obviously embarrassed by an article which appeared in the Central Queensland News that day. The article ran under the heading of 'Talkabout' and was wrongly attributed to me. Mr Cliff apologised profusely for the error, one reason being the embarrassment that the article would obviously cause me.

Apparently, Senator Collard, a National Party senator from Queensland, had forwarded to the Central Queensland News an article dealing with unionism. Senator Collard's name was not mentioned, but mine was. I shall read the first two paragraphs of this five column article. These two paragraphs illustrate why a senator who is a member of the Australian Labor Party, a party which grew out of the trade union movement, would be highly embarrassed by the error made by the Central Queensland News. The article stated:

In this month's Talkabout, Queensland Senator Mal Colston fires a few barbs at unionism, and presents some thoughts on possible changes within the ambit of its operation in Australia.

Senator Colston likens unionism to a 'rogue elephant which has been allowed to get out of control', but we'll let him tell it his way--

The article which followed was typical of one which would be written by a Queensland National Party senator. It attacked trade unions, the trade union movement and unwarrantedly attacked the Australian Council of Trade Unions. I stress that I completely disassociate myself from the comments made in the article which was submitted to the newspaper. I understand that the newspaper concerned has today published an apology. I have not personally seen that apology, but I am informed that it reads as follows:

In Friday's issue we published a Talkabout feature on unionism and attributed it to Queensland ALP Senator Mal Colston.

The comments published in fact came from Queensland N.P. Senator Stan Collard and Senator Colston has completely disassociated himself from them. We apologise unreservedly to both Senator Colston and Senator Collard for this error and for any embarrassment it may have caused.

At this stage I would like the matter to rest. So that my Australian Labor Party and trade union colleagues are aware that my name was used wrongly, I shall distribute copies of this personal explanation widely in Queensland.