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Monday, 29 February 2016
Page: 1232


Senator O'SULLIVAN (QueenslandNationals Whip in the Senate) (10:20): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for three minutes.

Senator O'SULLIVAN: I want to direct my comments towards what Senator Conroy said at the beginning of this debate. I am battling the temptation of suggesting that he made misrepresentations to the Senate. I will default to the position that he was simply confused. He came into the committee in a blustering manner, did not want to listen to anything that was said and wanted to talk over the top of all the other participants. As is normal with this committee, there had been a meeting four days previously at which all the participating members were invited to make submissions about who should be on the witness list. On the day, as I walked into the committee room and slipped over on the blood of Gary Gray—his read was rolling around under the chamber table—Senator Conroy arrived as a participating member and a protest was made about participating members not having had time to make a submission to the committee. But in fact all committee members had had four clear days.

Senator Conroy: We were only invited the day before.

Senator O'SULLIVAN: That is the truth of the matter. Senator Conroy put forward a witness and the committee resolved to accept his witness. He made one suggestion during the committee meeting—only one—and the committee resolved to support him. I dare Senator Conroy to go and get a copy of the minutes and to bring them into this place and read them into the record verbatim—because they will be in conflict with what he is saying.

Senator Conroy: I was not allowed to stay.

Senator O'SULLIVAN: Senator Conroy suggests he was thrown out. The committee started to discuss another matter, unrelated to the bill, that was only for the members of the committee to consider. Senator Conroy tried to bluster his way to remaining in the room. I say to you, Senator Conroy: your presentation here today—and there were only a couple of us who were in the room—was completely misleading. I invite you to come back into this chamber and read the minutes of that meeting verbatim into the record.