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Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Page: 9158

The CHAIR (10:37): Senator Macdonald on a point of order.

Senator Ian Macdonald: Chair, I want to raise a point of order. You've been very precise in enforcing the standing orders. There is a senator in this chamber who is clearly breaching the rule about wearing insignia supporting a cause here. I ask you to exercise the same rigour that you've used on other points of order on all senators in this chamber and not allow one senator to think he or she is better than anyone else and there are special rules for him or her just because of some inflated view of their own importance.

The CHAIR: Senator Siewert?

Senator Siewert: Chair, I'm wondering if Senator Macdonald is referring to my badge for Family Matters.

The CHAIR: Senator Macdonald, did you wish to add anything to your point of order?

Senator Ian Macdonald: I want you to enforce the standing orders, as you have been so diligent in doing this morning.

The CHAIR: I certainly heard you say that, Senator Macdonald. I was simply asking you if you wish to clarify because there are a number of senators who are not clear on what it is that you are objecting to in particular.

Senator Ian Macdonald: It would be inappropriate for me to reflect on their inability to understand, as that would be a reflection. We always wear badges supporting various charitable causes. You look around, Chair. You're in charge of the joint. If you see anyone who is breaching a standing order that has been enforced by past presidents, including against me, then I ask you to enforce those standing orders again. If you can't see them, then perhaps you should go to Specsavers.

The CHAIR: Thank you, Senator Macdonald. It wasn't a matter of whether I could see them or not; it was seeking further clarification. I thank you for adding that clarification. As senators would be aware, and as Senator Macdonald alluded to in his point of order, there is a practice in the chamber that we wear small badges and pins to recognise particular days and so on. That's been a longstanding custom in the Senate.

Senator Macdonald is also correct in that we do have standing orders and rulings by Presidents that go to something more than that. There is a distinction, and the distinction is, where it is obvious that the message reflects on the views of the senator or is broad enough to be interpreted, the senator is called to order about the prop or the message that they are wearing. On the point of order that you've raised this morning, Senator Macdonald, I don't believe that the range of badges and pins that are being worn today in the Senate are a breach of that particular ruling. Thank you.

Senator Bernardi: Madam Chair, may I ask that you, in your ruling, consider the ruling of Temporary Chair Senator Whish-Wilson which required both me and I think a member of the Greens party to remove from display the political campaigning for the 'yes' and 'no' campaigns as demonstrated by the rainbow flag and 'It's O.K. to Vote No.' That was upheld by Senator Whish-Wilson—I accept that—but I do make the point: there are badges signifying the political campaign we've gone through in this place. We're just looking for consistency.

Senator Hinch: I suspect that I'm the person that Senator Macdonald is referring to, and I think I'm entitled to have something to say here. The previous President of the Senate, Senator Parry, made no comment at all when Senator Hanson turned up here wearing a burqa.

The CHAIR: Thank you, Senator Hinch. I don't believe you are the person being referred to.

Senator Hinch: I'll leave that alone and go to the badges. Yesterday Senator Macdonald said, 'We all wear badges in this chamber; we're all entitled to,' and yet he challenged Temporary Chair Senator Whish-Wilson for wearing a badge inadvertently yesterday.

The CHAIR: Senator Hinch, please resume your seat.

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

The CHAIR: Thank you, Senator Macdonald. Please resume your seat.

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

The CHAIR: Can you resume your seat, Senator Macdonald. Thank you. I've indicated to the chamber my interpretation of the standing order in relation to the point of order that you have made.

Senator Wong: On the point of order—

Senator Hinch: Which point of order?

Senator Wong: I'm just actually clarifying; I think it's Senator Macdonald's point of order. Can I respectfully—

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

The CHAIR: Senator Macdonald, resume your seat, thank you. We will hear Senator Wong's point of order in a respectful way.