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Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Page: 3238

Senator WONG (Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water) (3:28 PM) —Pursuant to standing order 190, I seek leave to make a personal explanation.

Leave granted.

Senator WONG —Through you, Mr Deputy President, I am aware that certain claims have been made in respect of the evidence I gave at budget estimates on 27 May. The Senate will recall that members of the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts asked repeatedly during the hearing about certain cabinet decisions and decision making relating to the CPRS. A claim that a senator has misled the Senate is a serious one, and that is why senators are usually cautious about making such allegations, whether inside the chamber or outside it. Anyone at the hearing or reading the transcript would realise that I was careful in my answers. I explained clearly and repeatedly to the committee that I did not propose to go into cabinet deliberations, which of course included those of particular cabinet committees. My answers were truthful and respectful of the committee, whilst maintaining the privileges concerning cabinet deliberations. The claim made by Senator Birmingham that I misled the committee is therefore without merit, and I take this opportunity in the proper forum and at the proper time to reject it. Senator Birmingham would be well advised to exercise caution before making such allegations if he values his credibility.