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Labor MP's behaviour falls below standards.



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Thu, 23rd October 2008 LABOR MP'S BEHAVIOUR FALLS BELOW STANDARDS

Mrs Sophie Mirabella MP Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education, Childcare, Women and Youth

The Report by the Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests of the inquiry into the exchange between the Member for Robertson, Ms Belinda Neal MP and Mrs Sophie Mirabella MP, Member for Indi on 29 May 2008 was tabled today in the House of Representatives.

Whilst the Committee “is constrained by the very tight interpretation that surrounds a finding of deliberately misleading,” the Committee in paragraph 1.25 titled “Conclusion” said that while the member for Robertson did not “deliberately mislead the Main Committee and the House such that it would give rise to a possible contempt,” ...it did observe that the “Member for Robertson’s responses in the Main Committee fall below the standards expected of a member and do not reflect well upon her.”

It was a finding of fact by the Privileges Committee that the Member for Robertson said to me, whilst I was heavily pregnant with my first child, “Your child will turn into a demon if you have such evil thoughts.” “You’ll make your child a demon. You’ll make your child a demon,” and “Evil thoughts make a child a demon.” My comments to Ms Neal, as revealed by the audio of the exchange were, “How can you say that?” and “Are you a man hater?”

The Report also states that, “The Committee also notes that it is usual where the Chair asks for a withdrawal because another Member has found words offensive, as happened in the Main Committee, the Chair insists on a withdrawal regardless of the circumstances. Members are expected to cooperate with the requests of the Chair in such situations. The Member for Robertson should have cooperated with the request of the Chair and withdrawn at the time. Had she done so, this matter would most likely have gone no further.”

“The good people of Robertson and the Australian public will judge Ms Neal on this incident and on the numerous other unacceptable incidents which, in the words of the Prime Minister, have displayed a 'pattern of unacceptable behaviour',” Mrs Mirabella concluded.