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Tuesday, 22 April 1980
Page: 1618

Senator CHIPP -I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate a question concerning his extraordinary refusal last week to allow Government back benchers to have a conscience vote on the Olympic Games.

Senator Lewis - Rubbish.

Senator Missen - Would we have no say in that?

The PRESIDENT - Order!

Senator CHIPP - Now that the interjections have ceased, I will repeat my question. I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate a question concerning his extraordinary refusal last week to allow Government back benchers to vote on the question of a boycott of the Olympic Games. Hansard will bear that out. In view of the Minister's proper statement yesterday that the Government wishes a bipartisan attitude to be shown towards this question, and also in view of the fact that 62 per cent of Australians now oppose the boycott, will he allow Senate back benchers to vote on this issue next week on a conscience basis? On what moral grounds can he justify denying democratically elected members of this Parliament a vote on the most contentious and divisive issue before the Australian people at this time?

Senator CARRICK -Of course what I said last week does not relate to what Senator Chipp says. 1 said last week that on every issue before them in this Senate, honourable senators on the Government side of this chamber are free to vote and to act according to their conscience, and indeed they do so. Conspiciously, never does one member of the Australian Labor Party ever have the chance to vote according to conscience. Conspiciously, the records of the Senate show that quite clearly.

Senator Grimes - Do you realise you are lying again?

The PRESIDENT - Senator Grimes,you have again charged the Minister with lying. You have said. 'Are you lying again?' The inference there is quite complete that the Minister is lying. I ask you to withdraw that remark.

Senator Grimes - I withdraw for the sake of peace.

Senator Keeffe - I want to raise a point of order. The Minister quite obviously was giving erroneous information to the Senate when he claimed that this side of the House did not have conscience votes. Twice this year, I think, we have had conscience votes and we have been able to vote in the way that we personally desired, according to conscience. I would like him to correct that before he goes any further.

The PRESIDENT - There is no point of order. You are indicating a misrepresentation and making a personal explanation about that.

Senator Keeffe - It is a total misrepresentation.

Senator CARRICK -I said that Government senators may vote according to their conscience on all matters before the Senate and that, in contradistinction to that, members of the Labor Party cannot. I emphasise that. By shouting, they want to try to obliterate the facts, but I will continue. The facts are that I said to Senator Chipp that at the beginning of this session the Senate was given the opportunity to speak on this subject for two weeks. I think that almost all members of the Senate spoke on their attitude to the invasion of Afghanistan and had the opportunity to express their views on the proposal for an Olympic Games boycott. Virtually all members of the Senate took part in the debate. It was one of the largest and most extensive debates that has occurred. I said then to Senator Chipp that he had Hansard before him to measure the attitude of all honourable senators. I said that they had spoken on the subject and indicated their attitude and that it was unnecessary to do anything else.

Senator CHIPP -I wish to ask a supplementary question. I repeat my question to the Minister -

Senator Lewis - I raise a point of order. That is not a supplementary question.

The PRESIDENT - Order! You must not repeat a question, Senator Chipp. A supplementary question must seek elucidation.

Senator CHIPP -My supplementary question comes out of the Minister's answer. It is quite simple. When did the Senate vote on the proposal for an Olympic Games boycott? If it has not done so, will the Minister allow a vote on that question next week on a conscience basis?

Senator CARRICK - I have made it abundantly clear that individual members of the Senate had the opportunity to express their views. Hansard recorded those views. It is quite unnecessary to proceed further.

Senator Grimes - Let us have a vote on Nareen wool. You are a toady for Nareen.

The PRESIDENT - Order ! Senator Grimes, I am sick and tired of your asides.

Senator Grimes - What did I do now?

The PRESIDENT - You said: 'You are a toady for Nareen'. I heard it. It disturbs me that you persist with disorderly interjections. It is not parliamentary language. 1 ask you to withdraw.

Senator Grimes - Mr President,I heard no one from the other side of the House object to it, particularly the person to whom I addressed it. He knows what he is. I can see no reason in the world why I should be singled out for this sort of treatment.

The PRESIDENT - I ask you to withdraw.

Senator Grimes - This is turning the place into a Sunday school and it is not a Sunday school.

The PRESIDENT - Order!

Senator Grimes - Yes, I withdraw.

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