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Thursday, 4 December 1986
Page: 3445


Senator MacGIBBON(11.49) —I rise to speak in support of the motion. This is the most extraordinary circumstance I have ever witnessed in the Senate. Two senators came in here tonight without fulfilling the courtesy of advising the senators involved that they were to make the most scurrilous, cowardly and unprincipled attack on their professional reputations.

Putting that aside, I was here for the whole of the debate. The opening statements by both senators were that they were reading from statutory declarations. I took them to be true. I did the honourable senators the courtesy of believing that they were reading from bona fide statutory declarations. I did not interrupt when they embarked on their premeditated path of character assassination. I did not apply standing order 418 because it was in the interests of debate that they should have a say. I believe everyone has a right to put a point of view in this chamber. But where I differ with the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Senator Gietzelt, is that this is not an argument about principles, it is not an argument about facts; this is a premeditated character assassination on a number of senators on this side. Justice demands that those senators opposite who made that scurrilous attack have the courage of their convictions and put the documents on the table for the benefit of the Senate so that we can assess their accuracy and we can take the legal action to defend our names that justice demands.