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Wednesday, 24 May 1972
Page: 2038


Senator KEEFFE (Queensland) (12:14 PM) - I want to join my colleagues in opposing the motion moved by Sentor Rae. It is a frivolous motion in view of the circus that has taken place on the Government side of this chamber tonight. When Senator McAuliffe first raised this matter a few days ago I believe that he was endeavouring to uncover something which he believed was unfair and probably also improper. Tonight he came into this chamber with considerable documentation which bore out everything he had said previously but which enlarged on it in many respects. The other night when we clashed over another matter in this chamber I said that I would leave no stone unturned if I believed that there was corruption in any sector of public life, in any avenue of industry or in any avenue of commerce. As legislators, whether in opposition or on the Government side, we are required to be honest in our approach to everything. Thirteen million people in this country send to the House of Representatives 125 representatives and to this chamber 60 senators. When we come here they expect us to act on their behalf in a sincere and honest manner. Tonight we saw Senator McAuliffe endeavouring to expose certain aspects of a matter that happened in Queensland.


The PRESIDENT - Order! We are dealing with a motion moved by Senator Rae for the tabling of documents. Senator Webster raised the question of debate with me and I said that a motion for the tabling of documents may be debated subject to the rule of relevancy.


Senator KEEFFE - I did not intend to digress. I felt that I needed to enlarge on the remarks that were made by 2 honourable senators on my side of the House who preceded me. I will continue perhaps in a more technical vein.


The PRESIDENT - We are dealing with technical matters.


Senator KEEFFE - Yes, I realise that. I wish to speak to the motion that these papers be tabled. On several occasions here tonight Senator McAuliffe sought leave to have them incorporated in Hansard and at one stage sought to table one of the documents.


Senator Wright - Senator McAuliffe sought leave to incorporate the documents and the Senate refused.


Senator KEEFFE - Senator Wright, I am capable of making a responsible speech, even if you are not.


The PRESIDENT - Order! Senator Keeffe, you should address the Chair because you are advising me on what course I am to follow.


Senator KEEFFE - Yes, but I was diverted then by Senator Wright. The situation where these documents could have been incorporated or tabled was available at all times over a period of 55 minutes. On other occasions when leave was sought for this purpose 2 Ministers very irresponsibly refused leave. What Senator Wright said earlier is not true and I feel I must rebut it. He said that when he presents a statement in this House he is always able to make a copy of it available. On numerous occasions not only Senator Wright but also other Ministers have come into this chamber and read a document of which no copy has been available. Sometimes a copy is not available for several hours and it is certainly not available until after the statement has been read. This is a factual situation. I speak with my colleagues on this side of the Senate against the motion. I have said it is frivolous and I could call it something else but I would be out of order. I completely oppose the motion.







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