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Thursday, 11 May 1989
Page: 2304


Senator PUPLICK —by leave-I claim to have been misrepresented. An article appears in today's Sydney Morning Herald under the heading `New boy puts the boot in', which relates to the maiden speech given by Senator Faulkner on Monday. The article says in part, in relation to Senator Faulkner's comments:

He-

that is, Senator Faulkner-

chose to ignore the Senate Bible, J. R. Odgers' Australian Senate Practice, which says it is the custom for new senators' speeches not be `unduly provocative' and for the Senator to be heard without interjection or interruption.

The article goes on to mention certain remarks had been made by Senator Faulkner and then says:

. . . a total of 11 Opposition senators rose and left, leaving NSW Liberal Senator Chris Puplick to reflect on Senator Faulkner's speech alone.

The article concludes:

An unbowed Senator Faulkner said he couldn't care less about tradition. He added that Senator Puplick probably remained because he agreed with what he was saying.

I want to make a comment about that. Firstly, it is correct that Opposition senators left and I remained alone in the chamber. I did so because I was the shadow Minister on duty. It was my responsibility to keep the House as far as the Opposition side was concerned. I did so after having been consulted by a number of my colleagues who believed that Senator Faulkner's speech had transgressed the accepted conventions and traditions of this place and were minded to raise with the President a point of order on that particular matter, thereby interrupting Senator Faulkner during the course of his maiden speech. I advised them that I thought that that was not appropriate despite what they might regard as provocation and that the correct thing to do was for them to leave the chamber rather than remain here. I asked those Opposition senators who were in the chamber who had that view to leave the chamber. I asked the whips to leave the chamber. I asked that a message be sent via our whip's office to senators who were on their way to the chamber to pay Senator Faulkner the courtesy of listening to his maiden speech indicating that they should not in fact come into the chamber.

I believe that that was the correct way to proceed. If I had not proceeded in that fashion, we certainly would have taken a point of order about the nature of the maiden speech. To imply, even by way of a presumed tongue in cheek comment, that I in any way agreed with what Senator Faulkner was saying is, of course, incorrect. I do not have any comment to make about what Senator Faulkner may or may not believe about tradition. That is entirely a matter for him. I make the point that this was a question which reflected not only on simply the observation of a technical tradition but also on one's attitude towards the personal courtesies which are extended or not extended in this place in relation to maiden speeches and to other activities which we undertake. We now have an idea of Senator Faulkner's views on these matters.


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! You are going beyond the bounds of a personal explanation.


Senator PUPLICK —I hope he will be courteous enough in relation to my own views on this particular matter to properly reflect not on any comment about my agreement or disagreement with what he was saying but the situation which I have put in relation to the management of the House from the Opposition's point of view under those circumstances.