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Thursday, 25 June 2009
Page: 4275

Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (10:28 AM) —by leave—Senator Minchin is quite right that matters that go to privilege are quite extraordinary. They are not ordinary matters and that is why the Privileges Committee is there. The events of the last couple of weeks, and events unknown which led up to them, are in that category of quite extraordinary. Senator Heffernan brought in a motion to have the matter in part referred to the Privileges Committee, and the Greens supported that.

We have great faith in the Privileges Committee and its record. I have been repeatedly surprised by and admiring of the work of the Privileges Committee. It is a committee which time and again brings down a considered, sensible and largely unarguable finding, though we do have robust debates in here as a result of it.

This motion put forward by Senator Ludwig ought to go as it is to the Privileges Committee for consideration and there ought not be political positions taken on it. I do not think any of us should be concerned that the Privileges Committee be confined to any particular persons or exclude any particular persons, including senators. Therefore, the Privileges Committee should not be denied the opportunity to look at the matter in the terms that Senator Ludwig has put forward.