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Wednesday, 6 June 2001
Page: 27408


Mr KERR (3:22 PM) —Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


Mr SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


Mr KERR —Yes, on two occasions.



Mr SPEAKER —The member for Denison will resume his seat. The member for Dobell has already been warned. He will excuse himself from the House.

The member for Dobell then left the chamber.



Mr SPEAKER —The member for Braddon is also warned. The member for Denison may proceed.


Mr KERR —Thank you, Mr Speaker. The first occasion during question time when I was misrepresented was by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The minister said, in response to a question, that I had supported military intervention after the coup in the Solomon Islands. That is not the fact. What I did do was report to the Minister for Foreign Affairs representations that had been made to me and all members of a parliamentary delegation by the then Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, the Leader of the Opposition of the Solomon Islands and the Chief Justice of the Solomon Islands that they wished—


Mr SPEAKER —The member for Denison forces my intervention. I have allowed him more generosity than is normally extended.


Mr KERR —Thank you.


Mr SPEAKER —He has indicated where in that instance he was misrepresented—


Mr KERR —No, I have not. I am saying that what I have done was to write to the minister, passing on—


Mr SPEAKER —The member for Denison has indicated where he was misrepresented. He will come to the second matter of misrepresentation.


Mr Beazley —I take a point of order on this, Mr Speaker. It goes to the application of the test of when a person has been misrepresented. A member of parliament here has been accused of supporting military intervention in a friendly country. He has denied it. What he is doing is quoting exactly the situation which covers his case—what he was reporting on. Members of parliament are entitled to protection in this place. This is a place—


Mr Downer —When you were in government, you didn't—


Mr SPEAKER —The Minister for Foreign Affairs!


Mr Beazley —And, given that he had about one sentence further to read on it, he is entitled to read that sentence.


Mr Reith —On the point of order, Mr Speaker: the procedure allows you to point out—



Mr SPEAKER —The member for Brisbane leaves me no choice but to warn him.


Mr Reith —On the point of order: the procedure allows you to point out where you have been misrepresented and to deny it. If people want an opportunity to expand on that, there are other forms of the House and they should use them. To suggest that this is an opportunity at large, which is what the Leader of the Opposition is proposing, is obviously not in accordance with the standing orders.


Mr Beazley —It's a one-sentence correction.


Mr Reith —Oh, stop kidding.


Mr SPEAKER —The Leader of the Opposition!




Mr SPEAKER —I warn the Leader of the House and I warn the Leader of the Opposition. The member for Denison has, as the standing orders provide, in defence of his reputation—and the chair defends the reputations of all members of the parliament—had an opportunity to indicate where he was misrepresented, and has done so. I have no idea whether the concluding statement adds to the argument or not. The simple truth is that he has had the opportunity to indicate where he was misrepresented, and has done so. He will come to the second item of misrepresentation.


Mr KERR —Mr Speaker, may I seek your indulgence to set out briefly and in the simplest of terms what I wished to place before the House so that the circumstances whereby the minister so grossly misrepresented me are known to this House and the fact of what I did in fact do is also known to this House.


Mr Downer —What circumstances?


Mr SPEAKER —The Minister for Foreign Affairs is warned. The member for Denison will come to the second point of misrepresentation, as invited to do by the chair, or resume his seat.


Mr KERR —The second misrepresentation has nothing to do with the first point. I am seeking your indulgence to set out the circumstance—


Mr SPEAKER —I have indicated that I do not intend to extend indulgence. You will come to the second point of misrepresentation, the first one having been cleared.


Mr KERR —I regret that. The circumstances ought be known. The second point—and I regard it as a shame on this parliament—


Mr SPEAKER —The member for Denison has already been warned, and I will happily deal with him unless he comes directly to the second point of misrepresentation.



Mr KERR —The second misrepresentation—


Mr SPEAKER —The member for Denison will resume his seat. I name the honourable member for Lyons.

Motion (by Mr Reith) put:

That the member for Lyons be suspended from the service of the House.