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Tuesday, 31 May 1994
Page: 933

Senator MURPHY —by leave—I would not have said anything except for the fact that Senator Crane inferred that the employment, education and training committee had not done its job. I think it did do its job. I want to make a couple of points in respect of this matter.

  I served on the industry, science and infrastructure committee and we also had a matter of privilege to deal with on the application of a person who believed that he was affected. He wrote to the committee with detailed evidence of his claim with regard to his having suffered a loss of benefit as a result of giving evidence to a public hearing of that committee. The government members of the committee had great difficulty in getting the support of the opposition members—in fact, the opposition members opposed it all the way—in seeking to have the matter referred to the privileges committee. Yet, when Senator Crane raised this matter in the education, employment and training committee he did so only on the basis of a report in the Australian Financial Review. There was no complaint from the individual concerned. Senator Crane did not have a complaint that he had received personally. The employment, education and training committee had not received a complaint either.

Senator Crane —That is incorrect. Read the standing orders.

Senator MURPHY —It does not matter about the standing orders. Senator Crane is trying to set a double standard here. I hope that the next time these issues come up about matters of privilege Senator Crane will take the same stand. I hope that Senator Crane takes the same stand the next time when I or any member of the government seeks to raise a matter of privilege. All I am saying is that we ought to deal with the facts here.

  On the basis that no complaint had been received from the individual concerned, the committee found that there was no matter for it to deal with. That did not stop Senator Crane from bringing the matter before the Senate, which he has done. However, it is important that we understand the context in which Senator Crane brought that matter here. Senator Crane should not imply that members of the Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training have not been doing their job, because they have.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.