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Wednesday, 19 June 1996
Page: 1756

Senator FAULKNER (Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) —by leave—I will read this letter that has just been tabled by Senator Short with some interest. There is absolutely no doubt, as I indicated after question time yesterday in my contribution to taking note of answers, that we have a case here of very serious ministerial negligence on the part of Senator Short and also, I believe, Mr Costello.

Senator Hill —What a load of nonsense!

Senator FAULKNER —It is alright for Senator Hill to guffaw from the sidelines when we have had one of his ministers just come into this chamber to offer a mea culpa. Senator Hill put a number of positions to the Senate yesterday but in one he said, `How could they have got it so wrong?' They are your words, Senator Hill. No wonder you are humiliated and embarrassed not only with the performance of the Assistant Treasurer (Senator Short) but also with your own performance. Senator Short said, `As my colleague Senator Hill says, it is incredible that the other side could have got it so wrong, once again.'

I will read the letter that has been tabled by Senator Short. I will look with interest at this miserable mea culpa on his behalf. Let the record stand that the contribution that I and Senator Sherry made in response to the miserable answers that were given to questions in question time yesterday of course were absolutely accurate. This is a very incompetent and inept performance from a very incompetent and inept minister in an absolutely hopeless government.