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Wednesday, 8 December 1993
Page: 4161

Senator CRICHTON-BROWNE —Mr President, I claim to have been misrepresented. Under standing order 190, I seek leave to make a personal explanation.

  Leave granted.

Senator CRICHTON-BROWNE —In the Bulletin magazine on 16 November an article appeared which referred to me. The article was, of course, badly crafted and appallingly researched. It was neither coherent nor informative and was factually incorrect on a number of points. I should observe in passing that the article referred in one paragraph to a senior Liberal. The anonymous senior Liberal, of course, was a thoroughly forgettable, inconsequential junior Liberal with a short political life expectancy. I seek leave to have incorporated in Hansard a copy of a letter to the editor written by me and published in the Bulletin on 7 December.

  Leave granted.

  The letter read as follows

12 November 1993

Ms Lyndall Crisp


The Bulletin

54 Park Street


Dear Ms Crisp

Your article Numbers Man from the Shadows November 16 was neither balanced nor accurate. The author quotes an outrageous smear of me made by former Senator Walsh under parliamentary privilege without reporting that he was subsequently censured by the Senate for deliberately misleading the chamber over another incident in which he sought to again falsely smear me. The motion was carried with the support of Don Chipp and the Democrats. One of Senator Walsh's colleagues, subsequently a senior minister in the Hawke and Keating governments, advised me he would not again vote to support Walsh on any future such occasions.

Your article speculates about whether John Hewson asked me to join his front bench and then proceeds to manufacture a rumour to the contrary. My invitation for your author to ask John Hewson was ignored. To have asked John Hewson would have put paid to your rumour and exposed the dishonesty of your source.

I did not, as your article claims, mention contributing to Richard Court's leadership. I referred to my modest contribution to his premiership, a distinction not too subtle for most.

Your account of Withers and McLean going north with membership lists and discovering "there were dead people, people who'd left town years ago, branches that never existed" is a total fabrication. It is not without significance that the source of the concoction is not named. The reason for that is all too obvious. The article implies that the proposition was put to me by the author but of course that is simply not true.

The article makes much of the Floreat State seat election without even an elementary understanding of events. Dr Constable was assured success at the last election, when the Liberal Party endorsed 64 year old Dr Jecks, a circumstance caused by one of the largest constitutional Liberal branches in the electorate being disqualified from sitting on the pre-selection, occasioned by the failure of the branch to provide the State Director with the branch's pre-selection delegates within the prescribed time.

Your reference to the former Liberal Senator Sim ignores the fact that, after 16 years of accepting Liberal Party endorsement, he supported Dr Constable in both the bi-election and general election against the endorsed Liberal candidate. He has not for some time been a member of the Liberal Party.

Finally, your reference to suggestions that I used a private trust to win favour with branches through gift membership is both utterly untrue and libellous.

Yours sincerely

Noel Crichton-Browne