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Thursday, 27 May 2004
Page: 29399

Mr FITZGIBBON (3:38 PM) —Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER —Does the member for Hunter claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr FITZGIBBON —Yes, on two occasions.

The SPEAKER —The member for Hunter may proceed.

Mr FITZGIBBON —In a question to the Prime Minister during question time, I asked the Prime Minister whether he was prepared to back Labor's plan to amend the Trade Practices Act to prevent price exploitation and profiteering in the retail petrol market. In response to a question from the member for Petrie, the Prime Minister suggested that I asked him to amend the Trade Practices Act in a way which would keep oil prices low; and, of course, I said no such thing.

The second misrepresentation relates to an answer given by the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations who, during question time, perpetuated the habit of government ministers of taking me out of context with respect to my attitudes on unfair dismissals. That I can wear. What I do not accept is the fact that, on each occasion a minister chooses to quote me from the Small Business Show some four years ago, the quote changes. The Hansard record will show that the quote attributed to me today does not match the earlier quotes attributed to me by a range of government members. I am sure the Hansard will show that. In future, Mr Speaker, I suggest that ministers should be required to authenticate the quote. If they have got it wrong, they should apologise.