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Thursday, 15 September 2011
Page: 6190

The PRESIDENT ( 12:06 ): This statement is with regard to remarks made by Senator Carr in question time on 13 September 2011. Yesterday in question time Senator Macdonald took a point of order about remarks made by Senator Carr. I have had the opportunity to review the Hansard and it is clear to me that while Senator Carr was referring to opposition policy, as he subsequently reassured me, he did nonetheless say:

It is a remarkable feat that you think that drowning people at sea is a question of respecting human rights.

Given the level of noise and interjections that occurred in question time yesterday—behaviour that reflects very poorly on the Senate as a whole—I can readily understand that Senator Carr believed he was referring to opposition policy. I can equally underĀ­stand that the remarks were taken as being a reflection on opposition members and senators in a personal capacity. Such personal reflections are contrary to standing order 193(3). In the past, where senators have taken offence at such reflections, presidents have required their withdrawal. I therefore ask Senator Carr to withdraw the remarks. I also urge all senators to consider how this type of behaviour during question time affects the standing of parliament as an institution, and the respect with which members of parliament are held in the community. The good work that is done by you as senators is unnecessarily tarnished by the outbursts of bad behaviour during question time.