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Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 42

Senator McGAURAN (3:17 PM) —I, too, like my colleague Senator Boswell, can understand the pretty tough week or two that the Labor Party have had with regard to internal leadership problems and self-confessed jihads going on inside the Labor Party. So their morale and political judgment are going to be at a very low ebb. To be truthful, ours was after our fourth defeat, in 1993, too. But I can assure you that what we did not do after 1993—and what I do not understand the Labor Party doing—was hitch ourselves to the most discredited claims, such as were dished out several weeks ago by the member for New England, and Independent parliamentarian, Mr Windsor. What a desperate state you have reached on the other side. You must know it yourselves—some of you must know it over there. What a desperate state you have reached when you come into this parliament and take up the discredited if not foolish claims of the Independent member Mr Windsor.

Even after Mr Windsor's claims, since they were first made in parliament, were found to be baseless and false, if not lies—claims that were in essence just full of spite and hate and ahead of the facts—even after all of that, you still take up his cause. That is the basis of your questions at question time today. Never mind the gravity of Mr Windsor's claim against the Deputy Prime Minister, a man known for his integrity. My colleague next to me here, Senator Macdonald, is also known for his credibility. I would stand up his credibility, honesty and public performance against Mr Windsor's any time. I would have done this even before these claims were made it but surely I would do it now.

The gravity of claims of corruption in this parliament can never be taken lightly. But, regardless of the gravity of that claim—and it has since been proven false—you take up his cause today, unashamedly. You take it up regardless of the fact that the DPP rejected the need to pursue any investigation further, which totally exonerated the Deputy Prime Minister and Senator Macdonald, and regardless of the Federal Police's own report exonerating the Deputy Prime Minister and Senator Macdonald and finding that the very witnesses that Mr Windsor relied upon, the two members of his campaign committee, did not corroborate Mr Windsor's claims. So he was utterly friendless. Not even those that Mr Windsor relied upon could back his claims, let alone the so-called friend that Mr Windsor seeks to claim—Mr Maguire. He not only could not support Mr Windsor's claims but utterly rejected them, was offended by them and could not believe that a friend of 10 years would say that or use him to that extent for political pursuit only.

I would like to refer to the most important statement made by Mr Greg Maguire on Friday the 19th—last Friday—which puts this whole matter in perspective. I would have thought the Labor Party would have got hold of this press statement by Mr Maguire so as to distance themselves from the discredited member for New England, who owes this parliament an apology, let alone the Deputy Prime Minister and let alone my colleague Senator Macdonald. Of course he owes them an apology. He owes the people of New England an apology. He promised so much when he came in here, pontificating how he was an Independent, separate from all the dirty politics that go on. He said: `Look at me. I am Mr Morality. I will bring a clean slate to this parliament. I will represent my people of New England,' hovering above what he thought was the dirt of politics. He just got right down into the gutter—somewhere, I would say, no-one from the government has ever gone. When you make a claim of corruption, you are right in the gutter and you had better be right. He is wrong and he has been proven to be wrong.

Time does not permit me to refer to Mr Greg Maguire's comprehensive statement not only rejecting Mr Windsor's claims but calling upon him to make an apology to Mr Maguire personally with regard to using his friendship in parliament as he has. Mr Windsor owes my colleagues an apology and he owes the parliament an apology. He has let down the people of New England. I think the editors of the newspapers that have so propped up this puffed up, flush-faced member for New England ought to demand an apology. (Time expired)