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Tuesday, 15 October 2002
Page: 5135


Senator ROBERT RAY (3:14 PM) —I present the 108th report of the Committee of Privileges, relating to a person referred to in the Senate.

Ordered that the report be printed.


Senator ROBERT RAY —I seek leave to move a motion relating to the report.

Leave granted.


Senator ROBERT RAY —I move:

That the report be adopted.

This is the 39th report in a series of reports recommending that a right of reply be accorded to persons who claim to be adversely affected by being referred to, either by name or in such a way as to be readily identifiable, in the Senate. On 30 August 2002, the President of the Senate received a submission from Mr John Hyde Page concerning a matter raised by Senator Hutchins in the Senate on 22 August 2002. The President referred the submission to the Committee of Privileges under resolution 5. The committee considered the submission at its meeting on 26 September and recommended that a response in the terms included in the report I have just tabled be incorporated in Hansard. The committee always reminds the Senate that, in matters of this nature, it does not judge the truth or otherwise of the statements made by honourable senators or persons seeking redress. I commend the report to the Senate.

Question agreed to.

The response read as follows

APPENDIX ONE

RESPONSE BY MR JOHN HYDE PAGE AGREED TO BY MR HYDE PAGE AND THE COMMITTEE OF PRIVILEGES PURSUANT TO RESOLUTION 5(7)(B) OF THE SENATE OF 25 FEBRUARY 1988

My attention has been drawn to a speech made in the Senate on 22 August, 2002 at about 9.35am by Senator Hutchins during which adverse references were made to me.

In accordance with resolution five of the Senate I submit a response to those remarks and I request publication of this letter.

In his contribution, Senator Hutchins read into the Senate an anonymous email he claimed to have received, including the transcript of a purported telephone conversation between two people. The inference of that email and transcript was that I had offered a bribe to a member of the Young Liberal Movement to attend a meeting of the Movement.

I categorically refute that suggestion. I would also note that when the anonymous email quoted by Senator Hutchins was first circulated within various political circles, the alleged beneficiary of the bribe wrote to the NSW State Director of the Liberal Party also denying any bribe had been offered to him.

To be referred to in this way has the potential to seriously damage my reputation and it is therefore appropriate that, in accordance with Senate procedures, this submission is included in the parliamentary record.

(signed)

John Hyde Page