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Tuesday, 31 March 1987
Page: 1529

Senator GEORGES —by leave-I do not know whether leave was required; nevertheless I thought I would take the safer course. During Question Time I raised a point of order concerning Senator MacGibbon's question which unfairly intruded into the affairs of a union in Queensland and the ballot which is taking place. The information which he gave was distorted and incorrect. Nevertheless, Mr President, you disallowed the point of order and I am not questioning that you allowed the question to flow through. However, I am concerned that the question may be rebroadcast with the point of order deleted.

Senator Peter Baume —Of course it will.

Senator GEORGES —If that is the case, I take a strong objection to it. The point of order taken brought into question the abuse of privilege in this place by an honourable senator asking a question which was falsely based, which impugned people and which named people. The point of order was raised in order to make that matter clear. However, if the question is rebroadcast without the point of order also being rebroadcast, the unfairness about which I am complaining will flow on. Mr President, I ask you to bear my objection in mind and if the question is to be rebroadcast my objection to the question ought also to be rebroadcast. The safest course, I suggest, Mr President, is this: If a serious point of order is raised concerning a question, that question ought not be rebroadcast at all.

Senator Chaney —Mr President, I wish to speak to the matter raised. It seems to me that what should not happen in this place is that there should not be a political determination of what is included and what is not included in the broadcast. I understand that there are rules which are basically controlled by the Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings but which govern what is rebroadcast and what is not from Question Time. I simply respectfully suggest, Mr President, that those rules should be applied without fear or favour and without reference to a particular political viewpoint on a particular question.

The PRESIDENT —In reply to Senator Georges's question, Senator Chaney is correct. However, Senator Georges, the point of order will be deleted from the rebroadcast tonight. On the second point, Senator Gareth Evans asked that the question be put on notice, and therefore both the question and point of order would have been deleted anyway.