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Monday, 20 December 1993
Page: 5323

Senator VANSTONE (9.32 p.m.) —Given that I get a reasonably acceptable answer, this is the last question I want to ask. But I am almost prepared to make an offer as to the contribution that I might make in this debate and the effort I might make to be even more articulate than I have been. I ask the minister to make an equal contribution and to not portray in this debate that he is the source of all knowledge. A word search on the minister shows that his favourite phrase is `the truth of the matter is', as though he is the great possessor of all that is right. If the minister does a word search on that phrase in the Hansard, he will be fascinated by how many times he uses it. What it conveys to people is that he has some full understanding of what the truth of the matter is.

Senator Gareth Evans —What have I done to deserve this?

Senator VANSTONE —Just about every time the minister has answered a question he has repeated the phrase `the truth of the matter is'. It is just a way of conning people that he is correct.

Senator Gareth Evans —I will say `the fact is' from now on.

  The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator McKiernan)—Order! Perhaps Senator Vanstone could ask her question.

Senator VANSTONE —Yes, I will. Eddie Mabo was an individual claimant and there were two other individual claimants in that particular matter. Is it possible under the government's bill for individual claims to proceed in the way they apparently did in the Mabo matter?

Senator Gareth Evans —Yes.

Senator VANSTONE —Thank you for that. I do not want to go on about it, but when I first asked this question, the minister indicated that if there were others they would probably be operating as groups and it would not be too much of a problem; there would only be a couple of groups here and there. That may be the case, but the case on which the minister based this had people acting as individuals. So we wonder where we get when we ask these questions. I do not have any more questions on that clause.