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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8382


Senator JOHNSTON (Western Australia) (17:20): I present the 149th report of the Committee of Privileges entitled Person referred to in the Senate, Mr Henry Ergas.

Ordered that the report be printed.

Senator JOHNSTON: I seek leave to move a motion in relation to the report.

Leave granted.

Senator JOHNSTON: I move:

That the report be adopted.

This report is the 63rd in a series of a reports recommending that a right of reply be afforded to persons who claim to have been adversely affected by being referred to in the Senate either by name or in such a way as to be readily identified. On 15 October 2011, the President received a submission from Mr Henry Ergas relating to an interjection made by Senator Conroy during questions without notice in the Senate on 13 October 2011, which was recorded in the Hansard. The President referred the submission to the committee under privilege resolution No. 5. The committee considered the submission at its meeting on 3 November 2011 and recommends that the proposed response be incorporated in Hansard.

The committee reminds the Senate that in matters of this nature it does not judge the truth or otherwise of statements made by honourable senators or the persons referred to; rather, it ensures that those persons' submissions and ultimately the responses it recommends accord with the criteria set out in privileges resolution No. 5. I commend the motion to the Senate.

Question agreed to.

The response read as follows—

On Thursday 13 October, 2011, Senator Conroy made the following statement in the Senate:

"Henry Ergas went bankrupt".

This statement is completely incorrect and has no basis in fact. It is plainly derogatory and had it been made outside Parliament, would have given rise to proceedings for defamation.

I therefore request that a correction be promptly entered in Hansard stating:

"Senator Conroy's statement is completely incorrect and has no basis in fact."

Yours sincerely,

Henry ERGAS