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Thursday, 19 February 1987
Page: 236


Senator MacGIBBON(11.05) —For the benefit of the Manager of Government Business (Senator Gareth Evans), I undertake to leave this chamber after I have made this point.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Giles) —Senator MacGibbon, I have been fairly lenient in allowing this line of debate to continue. I suggest that we return to the amendment before the Committee. I do not see any point in allowing this particular line of debate to be further proceeded with.


Senator Durack —I take a point of order, Madam Temporary Chair. I would like to speak to your ruling. The fact is that you have allowed this matter to be introduced and fully debated by Senator Vallentine. In the circumstances of your having allowed that to be a relevant matter, you are now inhibiting Senator MacGibbon from answering the point. I believe that Senator MacGibbon should be permitted to speak again in this debate and answer the point that you have allowed to be made.


Senator Coleman —Madam Temporary Chairman, further to that point of order, could I just make the point that Senator MacGibbon introduced this subject into the debate and was interjected on by Senator Sanders and Senator Vallentine, who then took it upon herself to get up and exacerbate the situation which was developing. I just suggest that the matter has absolutely nothing to do with the Bill before us at the moment and nothing to do with the amendments. Senator MacGibbon does not require additional time to put his case. May we now get back to the Bill and pass it without amendment?


Senator MacGIBBON —By any reasonable standards I am entitled to answer a fallacious argument and a misrepresentation of a point of view--


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —I agree, but I and, I believe, the Committee would be grateful if you would be brief and keep the matter relevant to the amendments before us.


Senator MacGIBBON —Thank you, Madam Temporary Chairman. I will be brief, succinct and relevant. I want to deal with this allegation about personality aberration in servicemen responsible for nuclear weapons in the United States Navy. There is random drug testing of every member of the USN, from the Chief of Naval Operations down to the lowest sailor. The drug problem no longer exists in that Navy the way it did 20 years ago. Furthermore, the United States Navy is a dry navy. Not only is it dry at sea, but also it is now almost completely dry on land. It is a gross peddling of Soviet disinformation to raise concern in the community by saying that the people who look after nuclear weapons are as irresponsible as Senators Vallentine and Sanders.