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Thursday, 12 May 1994
Page: 762


The PRESIDENT —Order! Yesterday I undertook to check in the Hansard remarks made by Senator Gareth Evans to which Senator Panizza and Senator Crane took exception during the discussion on the absence of Senator McMullan.

  Due to the general noise in the chamber at the time, which is not unusual, I did not distinctly hear Senator Evans's remarks. In the printed proof Daily Hansard, Senator Evans is recorded as having said, `You are a disgrace to the Senate.' Such a remark directed to a senator has been held to be unparliamentary in the past. I am advised by Hansard that neither the reporter nor the supervisor in the chamber was able to record the interjection, because of the level of noise. What appears in the Daily Hansard was taken from the tape. However, having reviewed the tape, Hansard believes Senator Evans said `You are disgracefully—', with the balance of the words lost because of the noise level.

  In view of the disorder in the chamber at the time, and the advice by Hansard that there is some uncertainty about what was actually said, I do not propose to require any withdrawal. I again urge all senators, however, to display greater maturity and a greater respect for the institution of which they are members. They cannot expect the chair to uphold appropriate standards when those standards are generally ignored by senators on both sides of the chamber.