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Thursday, 13 May 1993
Page: 562

Senator WEST —Mr President, I seek leave to make a personal explanation.

  Leave granted.

Senator WEST —In relation to the hearing of Estimates Committee E the other night, in the Melba column of the Australian there is a small paragraph attributing a statement to Christine Goode, who was one of the departmental officers appearing before the committee, and describing a light-hearted repartee in which she advised that the previous day, the Tuesday, had been her birthday. In this article she is attributed as saying that maybe next birthday will be better. That is totally incorrect. By reading page E85 of the Hansard of Estimates E on 11 May, one will see that that quote actually should have been attributed to me.

Senator Ian Macdonald —Mr President, I raise a point of order. Standing order 190 says that, by leave of the Senate, a senator may explain a matter of a personal nature. So far, Senator West has been talking about someone else, and I cannot see how that is a personal matter for her.

The PRESIDENT —Order! When the point of order was taken, I thought Senator West had just referred to herself. I will listen carefully.

Senator WEST —I was referring to the fact that on page E85 of the Hansard I am reported, accurately, as saying:

Maybe next birthday will be better; you will not need to be here . . .

—meaning that May is not a normal time for us to hold Estimates and also that it is highly unlikely that anybody in his or her right mind would find it very enjoyable to have to spend any one of his or her birthdays doing any work that relates to an estimates committee at that hour of the night, particularly after midnight. I also draw the attention of the Senate to the fact that in Margot Kingston's article in today's Canberra Times it is alleged that the time of completion was 3 a.m.; it was actually 2.28 a.m. The Hansard makes particularly interesting reading.