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Friday, 10 May 1985
Page: 1726

Senator PETER RAE(10.08) — Some extraordinary allegations have just been made which I flatly deny. I was personally not aware of the existence of the amendment. Senator Jack Evans can say until he is blue in the face that I was aware of the amendment, but I am the person who knows my state of knowledge, not Senator Jack Evans. It was not delivered to me. Something like a thousand pieces of paper sit on my desk in a normal day. I did not look through the whole lot. If I was negligent in not looking at every piece of paper, I plead guilty to that. As to the second allegation, I flatly deny that there was any chicanery, trickery or anything else.

Senator Jack Evans —I am not suggesting that. There was never a hint of that.

Senator PETER RAE —I must have misunderstood. I had every expectation and intention that the matter would be dealt with last night. I did not attempt by any subterfuge to put off the debate or to put off the vote. I was going to speak very briefly only. When I sought leave I said that it would be an extremely brief statement. Therefore, I refute absolutely any suggestion that I was endeavouring to prevent the vote being taken. Senator Chipp asked me whether we would support the amendment and I said that if he wanted to put it off until next Monday I would be in a position to have consulted the shadow Cabinet and the party as to whether there was any support forthcoming for either that motion or any amendment of it.

Senator Walsh —It was another magic amendment, was it?

Senator PETER RAE —I do not want to reflect on a vote or to infringe the Standing Orders, but I simply want to reply to the allegation which has been made. There was certainly no attempt to prevent a vote last night. An offer was made in good faith. It was not taken up. I am disappointed that I should hear in this place the allegations which have been made. I was disappointed at the action taken. I have always tried to make sure that the Australian Democrats were informed of anything in which I was going to be involved. I had expected to be treated similarly. If on some occasions the Democrats have not received the consideration to which I believe everybody in the chamber is entitled, all I can say is that I am sorry. I find it regrettable to be in a position in which, apparently, the argument being put is that two wrongs make a right.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.