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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2534

Senator FAULKNER (Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories) (10.00 p.m.) —Let me congratulate Senator Alston on reading that pathetic speech and managing to get it all recorded in Hansard. I congratulate him for the very predictable ruse. In fact, I recall saying to Senator Loosley a few minutes ago, `I think there is a scam on.' Of course, the master of the scam, Senator Alston, has obliged.

Senator Kemp —Mr Deputy President, on a point of order: I think this is one of those few moments in the chamber when I feel inclined to stand up and defend a Labor colleague. Senator Faulkner called Senator Loosley `the master of the scam'. I think that is an absolutely unfounded attack by Senator Faulkner on Senator Loosley. I ask you to instruct Senator Faulkner to withdraw that most unpleasant attack on Senator Loosley. Factional politics have no role in this debate.

Senator Loosley —On the point of order: I thank Senator Kemp for his intervention, but it was clear to me that Senator Faulkner made no reference to me. He made the reference to a person to whom that title fits more than admirably.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Senator Loosley, I am not thoroughly clear that I understand to whom the matter was referred. In any circumstances, it seemed to me to be part of the cut and thrust of normal politics, to whomever it was referred.

Senator FAULKNER —I think the contribution Senator Alston has made is absurd; it is childish, particularly at this time of night. It is blatant opportunism. I have no doubt that a majority of senators will expose it for the total absurdity that it is. This is a pathetic attempt, under the guise of the suspension of standing orders, to blacken the name of two decent Australians. That is Senator Alston's stock-in-trade. That is what he is all about. He has become a heaven-sent expert at this sort of political tactic. He has become a past master of this sort of attack. He is known to friend and foe alike, quite properly, as `Senator smear'. That is his stock-in-trade. To waste the time of everyone in this chamber, after a long session—

Senator Kemp —Mr Deputy President, on a point of order: this is a most unfortunate speech. We have had Senator Loosley being referred to as `Senator scam' by Senator Faulkner and Senator Alston being referred to as `Senator smear'. I think it is important to say this is a debate about an institution which is a national institution, a very important institution. I think Senator Faulkner should be asked to confine himself to the matters under debate and stop attacking people on this side of the chamber and people on the other side of the chamber.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Senator Kemp, technically one could take offence at what Senator Faulkner said if the Hansard were read. But he put it in a style and manner which could be interpreted liberally as the political cut and thrust of politics. Senator Faulkner, I do not think it enhances the institution to have you to refer to anybody in the way that you did. I know that Senator Alston did not take exception. Under the standing orders, in the event that he did, I would have had to require you to withdraw it. There is nobody more durable than he in respect of these matters. It would help the debate generally if you were to refer to senators in the proper way.

Senator FAULKNER —The government will not be supporting this suspension of standing orders. We will have no part of this. We will not be dignifying this cheap, dirty, filthy, grubby little political trick at this hour of the night when 95 per cent of senators, including those opposite, believe that enough is enough.

  It has been a long session. We have had enough time in here. All senators accept that it is time to go home. I really reckon they want Senator Alston to go home and stay there.