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Monday, 23 March 1987
Page: 1117

Senator CHANEY —Will the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women give the Senate a clear and unequivocal undertaking that there will be no decision in the May mini-statement, or indeed in the next Budget, which will in any way touch upon the operations of the Office of the Status of Women or the operation of those organs of government which are concerned with the Racial Discrimination Act, the Sex Discrimination Act or the other pieces of legislation that the Minister mentioned in her answer?

Senator RYAN —I suppose one could call it a good try on Senator Chaney's part, although I do not think it was a very good try. Senator Chaney is perfectly well aware that no Minister, in answer to questions at Question Time or on any other occasion--

Senator Chaney —Give us an unequivocal statement, you wet prawn.

Senator RYAN —The sensitivity of the Opposition, which does not even know who its leader is today, is very well understood. It is really extraordinary that the Opposition, in the words of one of its own senators, is in a state of chaos. Who said that?

Senator Walsh —Senator Jessop.

Senator RYAN —Senator Jessop said on radio today that the Liberal Party is in a state of chaos, and all it can do is abuse Question Time by trying to engage in Budget speculation. Of course I will not comment--

Senator Chaney —Mr President, I raise a point of order on the grounds that it is an abuse of Question Time to engage in speculation. I would ask you to sit the Minister down until she gets it clear what she is doing.

The PRESIDENT —There is no point of order.

Senator RYAN —I, of course, will not engage in Budget--

Senator Button —Mr President, I ask that Senator Chaney be asked to withdraw his interjection that the Minister is a wet prawn.

Questions without Notice

Questions without Notice

The PRESIDENT —Order! There are too many comments from my left hand side. I did not hear the interjection, but I ask Senator Chaney to withdraw it.

Senator Chaney —I withdraw.

Senator RYAN —It is very clear to the people of Australia, particularly the women of Australia, that our Government has an outstanding record in terms of legislation in programs which protect women and minority groups.