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Thursday, 14 February 2019
Page: 10300

Senator BERNARDI (South Australia) (16:07): Mr President, is it appropriate to take note of your statement to the Senate?

The PRESIDENT: It's possible for anyone to seek leave to take note. That's at the discretion of the Senate.

Senator BERNARDI: I seek leave to take note of your statement, briefly.

The PRESIDENT: Is leave granted?

Senator BERNARDI: Just for a few minutes.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator BERNARDI: Mr President, I want to put on the record how grateful I am for your expedient investigation of this and your determination to revoke the pass of Mr James Ashby under these circumstances. I say that not because I have any malice towards Mr Ashby or anyone else but because I think those who are entrusted with a pass in this place, just as senators are entrusted with free rein across Parliament House, have a special privilege. I think that, for any chief of staff or any staff member who accosts a senator in the manner in which it was alleged, there is only one appropriate course of action. I have to say, Mr President, it filled me with dread that this would be referred off to another committee or an investigation or somewhere else, so I want to go on the record and say congratulations to you for your prompt action. The term 'for the time being' concerns me because, unfortunately, Mr Ashby has quite a track record in this place. I hope that 'time being' is a very long time.