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Tuesday, 7 December 1993
Page: 4011

Senator HERRON —by leave—I move:

  That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Family Services (Senator Crowley), to a question without notice asked by Senator McGauran this day, relating to child-care accreditation guidelines.

Senator Newman has been in contact with me this afternoon over Senator Crowley's deliberate misrepresentation of her comments in relation to the accreditation of child-care centres. Senator Crowley did this once before. Either she has total amnesia as to what occurred on 24 November or, once again, she is deliberately misleading the Senate in relation to Senator Newman's position.

  Senator Newman—from her sickbed, I might say—on 24 November put out a press release entitled, `Crowley's Disgraceful Slur', which states:

The Minister for Family Services, Senator Crowley, "disgracefully misled the Senate today" when she claimed that Senator Newman supported the government's compulsory Child Care accreditation program.

Again, this afternoon, Senator Crowley came in and made this allegation that Senator Newman supported the compulsory accreditation scheme.

  On 24 November, I stood in the Senate and made the statement that Senator Crowley had misled the Senate; yet she came in again this afternoon in relation to a question asked at question time and did it again. Perhaps it is getting to her, as it obviously did in the adjournment debate on Thursday, 25 November, which was one of the most pathetic performances that I can recall of the minister in this chamber; it was not a highlight of her career. It is obvious that Senator Crowley is on the defensive in relation to this matter. She was pathetic in her response to the questions which were asked of her.

Senator Patterson —You would think she would comment when Senator Newman was here and able to answer.

Senator HERRON —It is appalling for her to make that comment when Senator Newman was not present. When she made the same allegation against Senator McGauran in the adjournment debate she said:

Under parliamentary privilege, Senator McGauran has abused those people who are not here to speak for themselves but who have been refuting his outrageous claims. Under parliamentary procedure, I am not allowed to describe those claims as lies.

Senator Crowley is doing that same thing today to Senator Newman—and I think that should be put on the record. It is a bit of the old pot calling the kettle black. She makes the allegation about Senator McGauran yet, at the same time, adopts the same process in relation to Senator Newman who is not present here to defend herself—and I wish that to be on the record.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.