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Thursday, 17 August 1989
Page: 272

Senator JENKINS —by leave-I claim to have been misrepresented, Mr Deputy President, and wish to make a personal explanation. During the adjournment debate last night Senator Panizza spoke on the matter of child migrants and misrepresented me with regard to fact and motivation. I would like to address the misrepresentation with regard to fact more appropriately in an adjournment speech, probably this evening. With regard to misrepresentation of motivation I wish to make a brief statement now. Senator Panizza said:

Senator Jenkins at this time needs any band wagon that she can get on for the coming election.

That is a gross misrepresentation of my motivation. I obtained the eleventh Senate seat in Western Australia with a first vote quota of 0.75 per cent; that is, some 46,000 votes. I am a realist and I therefore believe that it is possible that I only have three years to fulfil my election promises. I undertook to truly represent my constituents, especially with regard to social justice issues and, in particular, to those issues not being addressed elsewhere. As the sole Australian Democrat parliamentary representative in Western Australia I am run off my feet in seeking to do this. As with many issues, I have not to date issued a single media release on the subject of child migrants. These people came to me having in past times gone to other parliamentary representatives. Calling representing one's constituents standing on a band wagon is a misrepresentation of a most offensive and small-minded nature.

Senator Alston —I rise on a point of order, Mr Deputy President. Could I have a direction from the Chair as to whether it really does constitute a personal misrepresentation to simply say of an opposing politician that he or she is seeking to jump on to any political band wagon that might be passing. I would have thought that was part of the cut and thrust of politics. If Senator Jenkins is going to use that as an excuse for retailing her position on a number of issues, it seems to me to be a gross waste of the time of the Senate.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —The grant to Senator Jenkins of leave to speak was made to make a personal explanation. That is interpreted fairly broadly. I should make it clear to senators, though, that in the course of a personal explanation it is not proper to criticise another senator. I was listening carefully to see that Senator Jenkins did not do that. As long as remarks are relevant to the misrepresentation, the leave of the Senate to make a personal explanation is just that-a personal explanation. If it goes on too long I will call the senator to order; but other than that, the right is there. Have you finished, Senator Jenkins?

Senator JENKINS —Yes. Thank you, Mr Deputy President.