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Monday, 11 November 1991
Page: 2796


Senator BISHOP —I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether or not today, as distinct from last week, he can assure the Senate that the Prime Minister has his undivided support. Will he tell the Senate whether he intends that support to continue until such time as the next election has been held? Will the Minister give us a simple answer today—yes or no?


Senator BUTTON —As a Minister in this Government, I must say that I am loyal to the leader of the Government and will remain so. That has always been my position.


Senator BISHOP —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. From that answer, I take it that the Minister is saying that that loyalty is to the Prime Minister, Mr Hawke; that it will remain that way until the next election; and in that capacity he will continue to represent him in this chamber?


Senator BUTTON —It is not incumbent upon me to speculate on what—

  Opposition senators interjecting


Senator BUTTON —I will remain loyal to the Leader of the Government, which is Mr Hawke. But I cannot say that in 12 months time Mr Hawke might not encounter the proverbial bus; I hope not.