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Tuesday, 3 May 1994
Page: 12

Senator CRANE —I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Industrial Relations to the decision of Mr Brereton not to appoint Mr Roger Boland, Executive Director of the MTIA, as vice-president of the new bargaining division of the AIRC because his evidence to the Senate standing committee was hostile to the Industrial Relations Reform Bill—action described in the 29 March Australian Financial Review as `traditional Labor knee-capping'. Does this act of revenge and thuggery by Mr Brereton against a witness who gave evidence honestly and in good faith not require that the minister resign immediately?

Senator ROBERT RAY —It is very hard to imagine putting a more prejudicial question—a question in which Senator Crane makes accusations, finds a verdict and then gives a sentence before I can even respond. Many people are called to public life, many people put themselves forward; and Senator Crane's assumption as to why one particular individual may have missed out, out of the many hundreds that missed out, is mere speculation.

  I understand that the coalition's industrial relations spokesman has raised this as a matter of privilege in the other house. The Speaker is considering whether it warrants attention and, if that is so, he will have his investigation there. But making an accusation does not make it so, Senator. Senator Crane has absolutely no evidence or proof to back up that assertion. Until he does, I will not be asking Mr Brereton to respond in any particular way.