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Wednesday, 11 May 1994
Page: 647

Senator CAMPBELL (3.52 p.m.) —I move:

  That the Senate take note of the statement made earlier today by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Gareth Evans), relating to the absence from the Senate on ministerial business of the Minister for Trade (Senator McMullan).

Senator Schacht —Haven't we already had that? I thought there was a debate straight after question time in which Senator Gareth Evans and others discussed the matter of Senator McMullan going overseas as part of his official duties. I presume that was part of the debate within the procedures.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —It was a source of fascination to me, but in fact it was a debate that took place by leave where speakers on both sides could make a contribution. The answer has not been debated.

Senator CAMPBELL —Mr Deputy President, I presume the time has expired now. Clearly the minister at the table does not understand what took place. The fact is that Senator McMullan was censured last night. He was also required by a vote of this Senate—some 42 ayes and 26 noes—to table documents in this place by 6 p.m. last night. He refused to do so and he refused to give any explanation as to why he would not do so. He has now left the country. It is not appropriate for the Minister for Administrative Services, Mr Walker, to write a letter to the President and explain himself. It is more appropriate for Senator McMullan to explain himself to this chamber. He is now on his way to Latin America, where I wish him great success with his negotiations.

  The Senate has been snubbed by this minister. On two occasions he has been required to table documents, he has refused to do so, he has been censured, and he has given no explanation. The government owes this chamber an answer. I call on the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Gareth Evans, to come back here and explain what he is going to do about Senator McMullan ignoring express orders on two occasions.

Senator Schacht —You have censured him. What are you going to do now?

Senator CAMPBELL —Senator Schacht does not know what is going on here. He should do himself a favour and be quiet and listen. We censured Senator McMullan, and we also censured Frank Walker, Senator Schacht's mate in the other place. But we also required Senator McMullan to remedy the breach of the Senate order by tabling the documents by 6 o'clock last night. Not only has he breached the first order of the Senate, he has also breached the second order as well. I notice that Senator Schacht is reported as being on the side of the government in wanting to keep secret the cover-up in relation to Casselden Place in Melbourne. Senator Schacht wants to keep government information secret. But there are 42 senators here who want this information tabled. They have twice voted to have the information tabled, and Senator McMullan has not only ignored that order but has disappeared overseas without giving any explanation. I want Senator Gareth Evans or Senator Schacht to stand up and explain to those honourable senators who want the secrecy about Casselden Place in Melbourne finished with. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! The time for the debate has expired.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.