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Tuesday, 16 October 1984
Page: 1746

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security) —I seek leave to make a brief statement on the same matter.

Leave granted.

Senator GRIMES —I am somewhat surprised at Senator Teague's statement. The origin of the question from Senator Elstob and my answer was the fact that he and I had received reports from a number of sources that it had been reported on the radio in South Australia that Senator Teague had made statements about inspectors knocking on people's doors and intruding into people's homes.

Senator Teague —Not at all.

Senator GRIMES —Just hold on; I am not trying to be provocative. I have been accused of-

Senator Chaney —Mr President, I take a point of order. We have had, in the normal course, a personal explanation in which Senator Teague canvassed the matters which have been raised in debate and explained what he had actually said . My point of order simply is that it does not fall to any of us in this place to deny the factual situation which has been put forward. I take it that the Minister, from the way he is gesturing to me at the moment, is not seeking to do that. I would have expected him not to do so and I would not think it would be in order if he did.

The PRESIDENT —There is no point of order. Senator Teague sought leave to make a personal explanation. Leave was granted and Senator Teague made that personal explanation. Senator Grimes then sought leave to make a statement on the same matter. Leave was given to him to make a statement on the same matter. Senator Grimes has the call.

Senator GRIMES —Unless one believes in mass hallucination, one has to accept that the reports were made. Senator Teague told us today that he was reported on the radio as saying this sort of thing. As a result of that-

Senator Peter Baume —He did not say that. He said exactly what he said.

Senator GRIMES —Just hold on. All right; he said words to that effect about intruding into people's homes.

Senator Peter Baume —In their lives.

Senator GRIMES —Okay. Firstly, I will accept that what Senator Teague said was ' intruding into people's lives'. I am sorry if people interpreted him as saying ' intruding into their homes'. Secondly, we had further evidence that very same day that Senator Teague had said something of that kind in the Press.

Senator Teague —No, I didn't say that.

Senator GRIMES —I will quote what Senator Teague said. When Senator Teague made his personal explanation on page 1552 of the Hansard he was talking about what I had said. He said:

I was protesting about two things. One was that as I genuinely understood the situation-until the assurances freshly given by the Minister here today in the Senate-in the case of any disputed valuation there would be a knock on the door and a visit by a representative of the Department of Social Security to an age pensioner.

That is what Senator Teague said. It is in the Hansard.

Senator Teague —Intruding into people's lives.

Senator GRIMES —The honourable senator said:

. . . a knock on the door and a visit . . .

My answer to Senator Elstob's question was about knocking on doors. Senator Teague went on to say:

. . . I have been bona fide in my remarks in opposition to the assets test.

He explained that a part of that opposition was the fact that he thought men were going to knock on doors. For heavens sake! He is indulging in semantics if he gets up in this place and says that what he really meant to say was that these people were only going to intrude into pensioner's lives and not their homes when they were going to go and knock on the doors. His words about knocking on the doors are in the Hansard. Why should I withdraw the statement that I had received reports which have obviously been interpreted by people in South Australia as meaning knocking on doors when the honourable senator gets up in this place and talks about knocking on doors? I think that Senator Teague really has to sort himself out. If he is going to make statements in the Press which worry people-we have had reports that people were worried-he has to accept the consequences of it in this place.

Senator Elstob —Mr President, I seek leave to make a statement on the same matter.

Leave not granted.