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Monday, 26 March 2018
Page: 2143


Senator STERLE (Western Australia) (16:59): I'd rather not contribute to this MPI today, but, unfortunately, I have to—seriously. There are so many experts and commentators out there. The sad part is you think to yourself, 'Steven, my God, man, what were you thinking?'

I just want to say to sporting heroes: kids do look up to you, so it is indefensible. I feel sorry for young Cam Bancroft. I think he's just playing his eighth test. Oh, God! Let's hope something good comes out of it.

I did listen intently to all the contributions, and yours, Acting Deputy President Reynolds, and I know the hard work that you have done in the inquiry you set up about the ARU and that terrible behaviour. I also listened to the squealing and carrying on from other senators—Senator Hume nearly blew my ears out—and I did listen to Senator Burston's contribution. All I can say—through you, Mr Acting Deputy President Whish-Wilson—is: Senator Burston, you started this, so I'm going to reply. You came in, and I thought, 'Well, this'll be interesting. I'll have a listen to you.' You started off with the ball and the no-ball comment, and all sorts of stuff, and you did go into an unbelievable tirade against Mr Shorten. You did make—I was sitting in the chair—some wild accusations there. Anyway, I want to raise this, Senator Burston, if I may. I'm not making anything up here; this is what was reported in TheSydney Morning Herald, and it's a well-known fact that I don't read TheSydney Morning Herald very much, but there was a report that accused you, Senator Burston—through you, Mr Acting Deputy President—of misleading parliament in your maiden speech. You are here. You can make a point of order should you feel the need to, and I would expect that, if I'm saying anything wrong, Senator Burston, you must pounce out of that seat. In fact, you must jump so high you're going to hit your head on that steel beam up there.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Whish-Wilson ): A point of order, Senator Burston?

Senator Burston: Mr Acting Deputy President, on a point of order: I did repeat those statements that I lectured at university—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT : That's not a point of order, Senator Burston.

Senator Burston: He's accusing me of not—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: That's a debating point. Senator Sterle.

Senator STERLE: Senator Burston, I haven't accused you of anything yet. Wait for this. Let's go back to the article in TheSydney Morning Herald, where, as I said, you're accused of misleading parliament in your maiden speech, when you said to this chamber, and to honourable senators in here, and to all those listening, that you 'lectured in teacher education at Newcastle University'. It is on the Hansard. But, Senator Burston, I believe you were caught out when Newcastle university said that it had 'no record of Brian Burston ever being employed'. What did come out of it, Senator Burston—and take a point of order and scream me down through the Acting Deputy President if I'm wrong, or if I'm misleading honourable senators, or the Senate, or those who may be listening—is that it's true that you were actually a TAFE diploma of teaching lecturer at the Newcastle College of Advanced Education. So, one would think, and we should all think, Senator Burston, that you thought you were being a little bit tricky or that you could've got away with the comment because the university and TAFE amalgamated six years after you lectured there. Senator Burston, that's a very inglorious contribution that you made on your first time in here. I haven't seen Senator Burston or anyone else jump up to scream me down and say that I'm presenting misleading information to the Senate, because I know darn well I'm not. To quote an old saying: the silence is deafening.

We've heard from other senators today—from Senator Watt and Senator Gallacher—and it's a well-known fact that, if you're going to start throwing rocks in this place, you'd better make sure your own backyard is very, very, clear, very clean and very, very far away from any accusations of cheating. It is a well-known fact, as to One Nation, through this nation, that there's still an investigation by the Electoral Commission into the use of a privately supplied plane that, at one stage, Senator Hanson's chief of staff said he owned. Then we found out it was actually owned by a gentleman called, I think, Mr William McNee, a property developer. I think he threw $50,000-odd at the One Nation campaign. The more I go on—I really, really wish that I had 20 minutes. Senator Burston, you have just made a complete and absolute goog of yourself.

Question agreed to.