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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 5415

Senator JOYCE (Leader of the Nationals in the Senate) (3:33 PM) —I seek leave to make a brief personal explanation as I claim to have been misrepresented.

Leave granted.

Senator JOYCE —Senator Sherry gave today a spiel which asserted that I was fervently against the Gorgon project. That was baseless. He, I imagine, has made that assertion from a report on News Radio which, even at that point in time, I had placed a caveat on, saying that little was known of the details of the deal at this point in time. I then said that if it were a state owned enterprise that had purchased the rights, that would be a concern, while clearly stating that details of the deal had not been clearly circulated. By the time we got to the Senate today further details had come out and it had become clear and apparent that Exxon Mobil and Shell were the main backers of the project, which involves the sale of product to PetroChina, the largest capitalised firm in the world. I have clearly stated that I have no problems dealing with China—I have no problems with the trade to China. I have clearly stated that over and over again. But that was not represented in the way that Senator Sherry was addressing the chamber. It is a shame that he can—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! You are starting to debate the issue, Senator Joyce. You are allowed to make a personal explanation. You must relate it to that.

Senator JOYCE —Thank you, Mr Deputy President. My explanation surrounds the fact that Senator Sherry was obviously misrepresenting me. He had an opportunity to do that without a reply from me. It is a shame that he can say whatever he likes without it being on the record immediately—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! You are now going beyond making a personal explanation. Resume—

Senator Ludwig —Mr Deputy President, on a point of order: we have now listened to a diatribe from Senator Joyce, which started out on reasonable basis making a personal explanation. It has now gone well beyond that.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —And I have asked him to sit down.

Senator Ludwig —He is now not only providing argument but also, I suspect, criticising Senator Sherry. Senator Sherry made a statement. If Senator Joyce feels that he needs to correct the record by making a personal explanation, then he should do so. I gave leave on that basis.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —And I have asked him to resume his seat.

Senator JOYCE —Can I conclude my remarks?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I thought you had concluded, Senator Joyce.

Senator JOYCE —May I conclude?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I will listen carefully to what you say.

Senator JOYCE —Senator Sherry’s diatribe misrepresented me. I am not in any way, shape or form averse to trade between Australia and China. In fact, I encourage it, as long as that trade is on the premise that we are not relegated to tenant farmers in our own land; as long as we maintain some sovereignty over the resource in the ground. I feel that that sovereignty is not represented by state owned enterprises when they—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —You are now starting to debate the issue, Senator Joyce. Resume your seat.