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Thursday, 17 March 1994
Page: 1797

Senator PANIZZA (12.17 p.m.) —I presume that Senator Knowles has finished her remarks. I support the amendment moved by Senator Hill. Most of the reasons have already been given for his amendment. But before I sit down I would like to address the remarks by Senator Collins. He said that it was no big deal omitting to state that he is a member of the Australian Labor Party. We all know that he is a member of the Labor Party.

Senator Collins —I would not be sitting here if I wasn't.

Senator PANIZZA —I ask the minister to address this seriously for a minute.

Senator Collins —I thought it meant organisations other than the Labor Party.

Senator PANIZZA —Okay. It is not only us who will pick up these declarations of interests; it is all Australians. Not all Australians know that Senator Collins belongs to the Labor Party. The same could be said of me or anyone else in this chamber.

Senator Collins —What? How do you get to be a cabinet minister in a Labor government without being a member of the Labor Party?

Senator PANIZZA —Yes, but some people do not know the difference between a cabinet minister and an ordinary senator.

Senator Collins —But they are all in the opposition.

Senator PANIZZA —Senator Collins can say what he likes; it is inexcusable. He should not employ that red herring. Not everyone in Australia knows who Senator Collins is and not everyone knows that he is a minister.

Senator Michael Baume —Aren't they lucky?

Senator PANIZZA —They are lucky. These returns can be picked up by anyone and they should be able to be understood by anyone. The other matter concerns people who do not sign their returns. An unsigned return is worthless. If a person has a bill to pay and is a bit short for the month, in order to buy a bit of time, it is an old trick to say, `A cheque is in the mail', then send the cheque but forget to sign it.

Senator Collins —I heard that about you, Senator Panizza.

Senator PANIZZA —It is an old trick, but I have never done it. The cheque is sent back because it has not been signed. Then the person really gets into action, signing the cheque and sending it, having bought a bit of time. The declarations of Senator Beahan and Senator Childs are worthless because they forgot to sign them. I put on record the fact that Senator Cook said twice in his speech that the opposition voted down the last motion of this kind. My information from the clerks is that until about 10 minutes ago there has never been a vote on this matter.

Senator Collins —Look at the debates.

Senator PANIZZA —No. He said that we voted it down.

Senator Collins —You are really nitpicking.

Senator PANIZZA —Senator Collins should read Hansard; he will find it in there—if he can read, that is. Senator Cook said twice that the opposition voted this down. The clerks have informed me—and I always believe what the clerks tell me—that there has never been a vote on this matter in the Senate. I put on record that Senator Cook misled the Senate. He should come back and apologise to the Senate, and I invite him to do so.

  The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator McKiernan)—Order! The question before the chamber is that the amendments circulated by Senator Kemp and moved by Senator Hill be agreed to. I will put the amendments individually in the order in which they have been moved. The question is that amendment No. 1 be agreed to.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —The question now is that amendment No. 2 be agreed to.