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Wednesday, 13 November 1985
Page: 2103

Senator GIETZELT (Minister for Veterans' Affairs) —by leave-Mr President, I commend you for bringing to the attention of the Senate the circumstances as you saw them. I am referring particularly to the last paragraph of your statement, which reads:

I take this opportunity to remind all relevant authorities that communication should be made directly to me personally as President.

It does seem to me that the attitude the authorities have taken in Queensland-I refer, of course, to the arresting officers as well as--

Senator Chaney —Mr President I rise on a point of order. We have a situation where there is a reference to the Privileges Committee. In my own remarks I tried not to canvass matters that I thought might be the subject of that inquiry and report. I really rise just to suggest that, in view of the fact that there is a committee consideration proceeding, to make comments on the substance of the matter might be undesirable. I just make that point to you, Mr President. I am not sure whether it is a point of order or whether it is a point I should make to the Minister for his consideration.

The PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Gietzelt has been given leave to make a short statement. I do suggest that as the matter has been referred to the Privileges Committee it should not receive a substantive debate at this stage. I ask Senator Gietzelt to confine his remarks as much as possible.

Senator GIETZELT —I did not intend to debate this matter, Mr President. It seemed to me that your statement and the attitude the Privileges Committee, and indeed the Senate, may take will depend upon the interpretation of what is required in the terms of a communication. That point needs to be clearly understood. If the Commissioner of Police believes that sending information to you represents a communication, we need to clarify what his obligations are in respect of the Senate. We need to be advised, therefore, as to whether his statement is regarded as sufficient and adequate in terms of the responsibilities the Senate takes upon itself or whether in fact he has adequately carried out his responsibility in sending a cursory message to the Senate. In hinges upon the interpretation of what is a communication and what obligations are on the Commissioner's shoulders or on the shoulders of the authorities in Queensland to send an adequate message to the Senate.