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Thursday, 18 November 2004
Page: 62

Senator CARR (2:00 PM) —My question without notice is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Hill, and the Minister representing the Prime Minister. In relation to the electoral bribery allegations made by the member for New England, I ask whether the minister recalls the Prime Minister on 21 September this year stating, `I have made inquiries, and I've been able to discover no evidence of it.' Has the Deputy Leader of the National Party in the Senate responded to the Prime Minister's inquiries on this matter? Has Senator Sandy Macdonald confirmed to the Prime Minister whether he attended any meeting with Mr Greg Maguire where discussions included Mr Windsor and inducements for him not to stand for New England? Has Mr Anderson's Chief of Staff, Wendy Armstrong, confirmed to the Prime Minister whether she attended part of any such meeting? If they have done so, when did Senator Sandy Macdonald and Ms Armstrong make these statements to the Prime Minister? Was it before or after the Prime Minister's statement of 21 September?

Senator HILL (Leader of the Government in the Senate) —I am not personally aware of the nature of the inquiries conducted by the Prime Minister. I will refer that to the Prime Minister. I suspect his response will be that this matter is the subject of a police investigation and that the police should be allowed to do their job.

Senator CARR —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Have Senator Sandy Macdonald and the Deputy Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Ms Armstrong, availed themselves of the opportunity to swear statutory declarations regarding their knowledge of and/or involvement in any such meetings or discussions? Given the very serious nature of the allegations made against Senator Sandy Macdonald, is the Leader of the Government in the Senate aware of why Senator Sandy Macdonald has not yet taken the opportunity to make a personal explanation to the Senate?

Senator HILL (Leader of the Government in the Senate) —The matter is subject to a police investigation, and the police should be allowed to do their task.