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Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Page: 4421

Senator CHRIS EVANS (Leader of the Government in the Senate) (12:50 PM) —I seek leave to make a very short statement.

The PRESIDENT —Leave is granted for three minutes.

Senator CHRIS EVANS —I would like to acknowledge the apology given by Senator Abetz and I will, obviously, take an interest as to whether the same thing occurs in the House of Representatives with Mr Turnbull. I just want to make the point that I do not think this is the time to debate the notice of motion given by both Senator Fielding and me which goes to this question of the activities of the committee on that occasion. Obviously if there is a reference to the Privileges Committee that will give them a chance to test the claims made by Senator Abetz and the defence he has offered today and whether or not there was any misleading or contempt.

On the question of Senator Brown’s comments—and I expressed this view at the time probably in a disorderly fashion because I do not think I spoke on the Hansard—I did make it clear in the Senate that the decision to grant a pair to Senator Abetz was one that the Labor Party took. We recognised his absence from the vote and paired him, and as far as I am concerned there is therefore no issue and the ruling is a correct one.