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Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Page: 4158

The PRESIDENT (3:02 PM) —When I made a statement earlier today about remarks used during question time on 23 June 2009, Senator Macdonald raised a point of order to the effect that Senator Wong made an improper imputation against him in responding to his question.

If standing order 193 were applied in the strictness of its terms, many comments would be ruled out of order on the basis that they contained improper imputations. A question to the effect of, ‘Was a member telling the truth?’ which was contained in Senator Macdonald’s question, could be taken to be an improper imputation.

The difficulty could be avoided at question time if questions and answers were confined to questions and answers, and did not contain statements, arguments and debating points. I ask senators to observe the standing order in all of their contributions

Senator Ian Macdonald —Thank you for that, Mr President. However, my point of order was on the inference that Senator Wong made about me, not about the inference I might have made about Mr Turnour—which I explained was not an inference.

The PRESIDENT —There is no point of order.