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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2461

Senator SHORT —I seek leave to make a personal explanation as I claim to have been misrepresented.

  Leave granted.

Senator SHORT —Senator McKiernan claimed in his remarks today—Senator Bolkus also claimed this both yesterday and today—that I had said that the person called Obeid who was being referred to in the context of the questions concerning the assassination of the Maronite leader, Dany Chamoun, and the bombing earlier this year of a church in Lebanon was called Jean Obeid. That is not correct. I draw the Senate's attention to what I said in Senate estimates last Thursday 23 June:

I noted—and you probably would have seen it too—

I was referring to Senator Bolkus—

an article in the Australian of last Saturday, 18 June that was headlined `Former Lebanon warlord faces death for atrocities.' That article refers to the entry into Australia of a person who, the article says, is a Mr Jean Obeid, who has been charged, together with others . . .

and on went the article. In other words, what I was doing was not saying that the person was Jean Obeid. I was referring to an article—

Senator Robert Ray —Semantics.

Senator SHORT —No, it is much more than semantics. I was referring to what the article said. Senator Bolkus himself since then has been claiming that this obscured the whole thing and that somehow or other that caused problems for them in following the case. That is also nonsense because—

Senator Robert Ray —Mr Deputy President, I raise a point of order. Senator Short was given leave to show where he was misrepresented. He has just started to debate the matter—there is no question of that—in the last couple of sentences.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Yes, it is a thoroughly legitimate point of order. Senator Short, I would be grateful if you would address particularly the matters where you have been misrepresented by other speakers.

Senator SHORT —I have been misrepresented and the fact is that the minister knows full well, as does Senator McKiernan, that the name I referred to in the Senate estimate's committee the other day was a name that I said was being referred to in a newspaper article. I did not refer to the name; the article did. The minister knew that full well, given his responses in Senate estimates and, indeed, given his response to the questions that I asked in this chamber both yesterday and today.