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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1600

Mr KEATING (Treasurer) —Madam Speaker, I claim to have been misrepresented by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Howard).

Madam SPEAKER —I call the Treasurer.

Mr KEATING —On a number of occasions in this House, because fiscal policy is so important to this country at this particular time, I have sought to indicate to the Leader of the Opposition the fact that--

Mr N.A. Brown —I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam SPEAKER —Just a moment.

Mr KEATING —I am not to be heard but he is? Is that the idea?

Mr N.A. Brown —No. I am just taking a point of order.

Mr Tuckey —You talked half an hour of absolute garbage.

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for O'Connor will resume his seat. The Treasurer will resume his seat. I call the Deputy Leader of the Opposition on a point of order.

Mr N.A. Brown —Thank you, Madam Speaker. The point of order is simply this: Madam Speaker, you have quite rightly drawn attention to the fact that the obligation on a member seeking to make a personal explanation is to do one thing at the outset and that is to say where he or she was misrepresented. The Treasurer is not doing that. You should, with respect, call him to order and require him to state clearly and concisely immediately the occasion when he says he was misrepresented and the manner in which he was misrepresented.

Madam SPEAKER —I thank the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. As far as I was concerned, the Treasurer had not got about six words out.

Mr N.A. Brown —Madam Speaker, I would like you to reflect, if you would, on the words used by the Treasurer. He has spoken. He started his statement without asking for leave by justifying statements he has made in the interests of the nation--

Madam SPEAKER —Order! Would the honourable member resume his seat while I find out what--

Mr N.A. Brown —and he has not said where he has been misrepresented and he should do so.

Madam SPEAKER —If this is not a personal explanation, be sure I will say so. I call the Treasurer.

Mr KEATING —Madam Speaker, I did say I claimed to have been personally misrepresented by the Leader of the Opposition.

Madam SPEAKER —He did say that at the beginning.

Mr KEATING —He said that--

Mr Beale —Seek leave.

Madam SPEAKER —I called the Treasurer.

Mr KEATING —The Leader of the Opposition said that the Prime Minister and I had both maliciously and dishonestly misrepresented him and referred to a statement he made in his reply to the last Budget which alone scrapped outlays commitments but not tax expenditure commitments. I have since annotated them and invited a reply. This matter can be settled by a letter from the Leader of the Opposition saying--

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The Treasurer must show the House where he has personally been misrepresented.

Mr KEATING —Madam Speaker, I am constantly misrepresented by the Leader of the Opposition, and so is the Prime Minister. The claim is that we are dishonest and malicious, but when we invite the satisfaction of settlement of this dispute--

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The Treasurer is not making a personal explanation.

Mr KEATING —Yes, I am, Madam Speaker.

Madam SPEAKER —You are debating the issue.

Mr KEATING —Madam Speaker, the personal explanation I am making--

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The Treasurer will resume his seat. He is debating the issue. I point out to the Leader of the Opposition that there are other forms of the House open to him if he wishes to take further the matter that he raised in his personal explanation and if he feels that during the personal explanation he did not have full right to debate the issue which, of course, he knows he cannot. He has the avenue of matters of public importance, in which he can debate the issue at some length. I call on petitions.

Mr Keating —Squirm!

Mr Aldred —On a point of order, Madam Speaker: You have just drawn to the attention of the House certain words that have been used previously here. The word just used by the Treasurer as he left the chamber was far worse than any other word that has been used here today. I ask that you ask the Treasurer immediately to withdraw the word that he used.

Madam SPEAKER —I will ask the Treasurer when I leave the chair.

Mr Aldred —Madam Speaker, may I have your assurance that you will ask the Treasurer to withdraw that word?

Madam SPEAKER —Did the honourable member not hear what I said? I said that I would ask the Treasurer when I leave the House. I thought that was fairly clear.

Mr Aldred —A point of order--

Madam SPEAKER —Order! I understand that the Treasurer, when he was leaving the House, made a comment that would be unparliamentary.

Mr Keating —Madam Speaker, I said, only to the Opposition: `Squirm'.

Mr Aldred —Madam Speaker, on a point of order, that is not the way I heard the word. I ask the Treasurer to withdraw the word that he used.

Madam SPEAKER —The Treasurer has pointed out that the word he used was `squirm'. I do not consider it unparliamentary.