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PROPOSED MATTER OF PRIVILEGE—STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT

The President made a statement relating to a matter of privilege raised by the Leader of the Australian Greens (Senator Bob Brown) concerning a possible improper relationship between Senator Boswell and Metcash.

The President informed the Senate that, pursuant to the procedures provided by standing order 81 and resolutions of the Senate of 25 February 1988, he had determined that he should not give precedence to a motion to refer the matter to the Committee of Privileges.

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Documents: The President tabled the following documents:

 Proposed matter of privilege—Letters from—

  Senator Bob Brown to the President, dated 24 November 2011 and attachments.

  Senator Bob Brown to the President, dated 24 November 2011 [2].

  President to Senator Bob Brown, dated 24 November 2011.

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Dissent from ruling: Senator Bob Brown, having objected, in writing, to the ruling of the President, moved—That the Senate dissents from the ruling of the President (that the motion to refer a matter to the Committee of Privileges not be given precedence).

Debate was adjourned till the next day of sitting, pursuant to standing order 198.

Notice of motion: Senator Bob Brown gave a notice of motion as follows: To move on the next day of sitting—That the following matter be referred to the Standing Committee of Privileges for inquiry and report:

Having regard to Senator Boswell's acceptance of a $30 000 donation from Metcash, and other such donations in previous years and his subsequent request, on 23 November 2010, for a parliamentary inquiry into the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's decision to block the expansion of Metcash:

 (a) whether any person, by the offer or promise of an inducement or benefit, or by other improper means, attempted to influence a senator in the senator's conduct as a senator, and whether any contempt was committed in that regard; and

 (b) whether Senator Boswell received any benefit for himself or another person on the understanding that he would be influenced in the discharge of his duties as a senator, or enter into any contract, understanding or arrangement having the effect, or which may have the effect, of controlling or limiting the senator's independence or freedom of action as a senator, or pursuant to which the senator is in any way to act as the representative of any outside body in the discharge of the senator's duties.


Leave refused: Senator Bob Brown sought leave to make a statement relating to the matter.

An objection was raised and leave was not granted.

Proposed suspension of standing orders: Senator Bob Brown, pursuant to contingent notice, moved—That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Senator Bob Brown making a statement.

Debate ensued.

Question put.

The Senate divided—

AYES, 10

Senators—

Brown, Bob

Di Natale

Hanson-Young

Ludlam

Milne

Rhiannon

Siewert (Teller)

Waters

Wright

Xenophon

NOES, 49

Senators—

Abetz

Adams

Back

Bernardi

Bilyk

Birmingham

Bishop

Boswell

Boyce

Brandis

Brown, Carol

Bushby

Cameron

Colbeck

Conroy

Crossin

Edwards

Eggleston

Faulkner

Fawcett

Feeney

Fifield

Fisher

Furner

Gallacher

Hogg

Humphries

Johnston

Kroger (Teller)

Lundy

Macdonald

Madigan

Marshall

McEwen

McKenzie

McLucas

Moore

Nash

Parry

Polley

Pratt

Ronaldson

Ryan

Sherry

Singh

Stephens

Sterle

Thistlethwaite

Urquhart

Question negatived.