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Thursday, 10 November 2016
Page: 2486

Culleton, Senator Rodney


Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (14:10): My question is to the Attorney-General, Senator Brandis. I refer to the Attorney-General's statement in the Senate on Monday that:

On 7 September this year Mr Ian Bruce Bell commenced proceedings in the High Court of Australia against Senator Culleton. These proceedings had nothing to do with the Australian government and the government's only knowledge of them was from reports in the media.

How does the Attorney-General reconcile his statement this Monday with the fact that the Senate received formal notice of the proceedings on 12 September? Was he not aware of that notice of proceedings tabled in the Senate on 12 September?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:10): If that is the case, Senator, no, I was not.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Gallacher, a supplementary question?



Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (14:10): How did the government fail to have knowledge of the proceedings in the High Court against Senator Culleton when 30 coalition senators, three assistant ministers, 12 ministers and 10 members of cabinet sit in the chamber in which the notice of proceedings was tabled on 12 September?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:11): Senator, if what you say is correct, it does not change the fact that these proceedings have absolutely nothing to do with the Australian government.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Gallacher, a final supplementary question?



Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (14:11): As the first law officer of the nation, why does the Attorney continue to make statements in this place that are designed to mislead the Senate and misinform the public?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:11): I have never done that. Unlike you, Senator Gallacher, I must confess that I do not read the Journals of the Senate every morning. If what you say is correct, that is not a matter that was drawn to my attention, nor would I expect it to be.