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Monday, 11 November 1985
Page: 1945


Senator TATE(10.48) —Honourable senators will recall that on 29 January this year His Excellency the Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen, appointed 21 February as `the day for the Parliament of the Commonwealth to assemble for the despatch of business' and required senators to give their attendance accordingly at Parliament House. Unfortunately, Senator Georges is not in attendance in this Parliament today in order to attend to the business which the Governor-General required him to assemble with his fellow senators to despatch. From media reports one is led to believe that our colleague has been arrested. I do not know whether that is the case but I ask you, Mr President, particularly in light of the resolution passed on 26 February 1980, to inform the Senate of the status of our colleague and whether this might impair his ability to fulfil his constitutional role in attending this Parliament.

Honourable senators may recall that on 26 February 1980-I have no doubt that Senator Jim Cavanagh was a party to the framing of this resolution; I see that our former colleague and Mrs Cavanagh are with us in the gallery this evening-that resolution stated:

(1) It is the right of the Senate to receive notification of the detention of its members.

(2) Should a Senator for any reason be held in custody pursuant to the order or judgment of any court, other than a court martial, the court ought to notify the President of the Senate, in writing, of the fact and the cause of the Senator's being placed in custody.

I am anxious to know whether the arresting authority or the court concerned has notified you, Mr President, as it should in terms of that resolution, of the status of our colleague Senator Georges. I am sure that other senators will be interested in the reply that you may be able to give.