Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Paul Keating, Leo, bicycles and Parliament: the $65,000 that will not go away: Leo should pay back?

Download PDFDownload PDF



Shadow Minister for Communications 18 January 1993

Manager of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives



Now that the Prime Minister is back at work one of his first priorities should be to suggest to Speaker Leo McLeay that he pay back the high settlement he received for falling off his bike. It has become a national scandal.

Further, the Prime Minister should order an independent investigation into the whole arrangement of compensation claims against the Parliament for injuries suffered by visitors and occupants of the building. The different outcomes that have surfaced over the last month demand for the sake of public confidence that

this be done.

The revelation that a Brisbane resident Mrs. Rosemary Collins is being mercilessly pursued for $10,000 by the Federal Government following an accident in the High Court building in 1982 for which she sought compensation and failed is a heartless exercise.

The Government wants $10,000 for costs and is prepared for this pensioner to sell her home unit. They have chased her for years. Mrs Collins has even written to the Queen.

How ironic that the Government agreed to a settlement of Speaker Leo McLeay's compensation claim for falling off a bicycle and covered the $10,000 legal costs of the Speaker - yet pursues Mrs Collins so mercilessly.

Brought to public attention during the last month following the revelation of Speaker McLeay's $65,000 settlement are three other compensation matters:

* Mrs Daphne Powell - who fell and broke an ankle in Parliament House. A $200 courtesy payment was offered.

* Mrs Sylvia Grey - who cracked her skull in a fall in Parliament House. Mrs Grey is yet to make a formal claim.

* Mrs Rosemary Collins - a fall in the High Court building which has seen a battle for legal costs between her and the Australian Government Solicitor. CO;MMONV /EALTH




There is broad community disquiet about all of these revelations. The

compensation arrangements should, as I said on the 6th January, be subject to an urgent review.

Also, the high settlement to Mr. McLeay is such that one must ask whether he should not pa y it back. He is reportedly in Africa, but on his return he should consider his position.

The Prime Minister would not defend or even respond to questions about Mr. McLeay's $65,000 claim before Christmas. He cannot ignore the situation any longer.

My motion in the House of Representatives on 17 December 1992 is now a formal Notice of Motion and will require the immediate response of the Parliament on its resumption in February if an election does not intervene.

"That in the discharge of his duties as joint administrator of the Department of the Joint House he did knowingly sign an official report of that Department to the Parliament which included an anonymous reference to a public liability compensation settlement to himself without giving any personal explanation to the Parliament."

"That the Speaker has failed to protect the dignity of the Parliament by consistently seeking to hide the facts surrounding his compensation claim and subsequent settlement from the Parliament and people of Australia."

The question will be whether Mr. Keating will stand and defend the Speaker's $65,000. He should publicly now stand up and require a refund and establish a proper inquiry into the whole matter of compensation payment and settlement.

Contact: (003) 31 4322