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Thursday, 5 December 1985
Page: 2991

Senator MICHAEL BAUME(11.11) —I had raised some serious questions, particularly one relating to definition, which the Minister has chosen not to answer. I do not expect him to answer difficult questions. All I expect from him is in fact what we got, which was a tirade of personal abuse to which I am accustomed. I assure the Minister that if he thinks he can intimidate me out of asking questions because I would be worried that he might open his vile mouth and pour out that nonsense again, he is wasting his time. He can keep it up. All I stress to him is this: Every time he fails to answer a proper question on a serious matter like this, by resorting to personal abuse, he simply diminishes his own stature and he certainly diminishes the stature of the position he occupies-hopefully temporarily-in this chamber. I simply ask the Minister: Does he intend to answer the question I asked about whether the definition of `employee' extends not only to directors but also to partners and self-employed?

I wonder whether the Minister might also be kind enough, when he insists on continuing his personal abuse through the calls to order by the Chair, to provide me with a copy of that personal abuse as quickly as possible because unfortunately I cannot hear it. I may once again have the problem of having difficulty with the final Hansard record which may well not coincide with my recollection and the recollection of other senators of what actually happened. It is very difficult to respond to lies and deception from the Minister-and I use those words vigorously -when one cannot hear them because he talks continuously through calls to order from the Chair. It is a most improper practice. It is a deceitful and deceptive practice. It is a practice that is totally in keeping with the Minister's character.

Senator Robert Ray —Mr Temporary Chairman, I raise a point of order. We are not involved in a debate on the Standing Orders or any other debate. If the honourable senator wants the Minister to withdraw, he can ask for that to be done. We are considering a Bill in Committee. If the Minister said something offensive, he should ask for it to be withdrawn.

Senator Michael Baume —Mr Temporary Chairman, I take a point of order. My point of order is that I was complaining that what the Minister was saying was inaudible to me. I could not tell whether I could or should object. For the senator to come to the Minister's defence demeans the senator.