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Thursday, 17 December 1992
Page: 5370

Senator MACDONALD (4.48 p.m.) —I would like to bring the Senate back to the terms of the censure motion, which is:

That the Senate censures the Minister for Transport and Communications (Senator Collins) for his persistent failure to immediately investigate allegations of irregularities . . .

As my colleagues Senator MacGibbon and Senator O'Chee have very clearly and succinctly pointed out, over a long period Senator Archer, Senator Calvert and the rest of the Public Works Committee—everyone else—told Senator Collins about this. They told him that he should look at it a bit more closely; they told him something was wrong and he continued to ignore it. All he did was abuse those who suggested that he should look at it. All he did was tell us to shut up or to be quiet, or tell us that he would do what he bloody well liked, and he took absolutely no notice when we were trying to tell him what it was all about. We were trying to say to him that he should look at Mr Baldwin's administration of the Authority and that he should be a bit careful about what was happening, and this is what Senator Collins said in response to that:

Mr Baldwin is a professional administrator. He is a very good one.

I do not think Mr Macphee agrees with that. People on this side were trying to say to Senator Collins, `Have a look at this matter; see that there is not something going wrong'. Senator Cook was able to take up the challenge. Within a few short hours Senator Cook was able to attend to it. For many, many months Senator Collins was told about this but he refused to do anything about it except protect, promote and praise the people who have now been referred to in the report to which this motion refers.

Senator O'Chee —And abuse us.

Senator MACDONALD —And, as Senator O'Chee says, abuse those of us on this side. I think the case has been very well made out. I raised a lot of issues in my speech yesterday which I will not repeat today. I then called upon Senator Collins to do the right thing and resign. If he does not, Mr Keating—if he has any courage or concern at all about the way Parliament operates—should sack Senator Collins and so benefit the whole of the Australia. I urge the Senate to support the motion.