PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS

Senator REYNOLDS (Western Australia) (15:04): I seek leave to make a short statement.

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Leave granted.

Senator REYNOLDS: I rise to make a statement in regard to comments made by Senator Cameron today in a senator’s statement. In his statement I believe he egregiously misrepresented the comments of both me and Senator Paterson in a private Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee meeting held earlier today. Senator Cameron’s comments—he didn’t have the courtesy to advise me he would be making the statement—can only be characterised as a massive own goal by Senator Cameron. As senators, elected representatives and legislators, it is incumbent on us all to respect parliamentary process and the chamber in which we serve. I am extremely disappointed and disgusted by Senator Cameron’s wilful misrepresentation and mischaracterisation of the committee’s proceedings this morning. Unlike Senator Cameron, I will not be breaching standing orders and privilege and will not be disclosing unauthorised information, as he has done now twice in this chamber in two days. But I would observe that, in addition to misrepresenting me and Senator Paterson, Senator Cameron has, by his very misrepresentation, made further unauthorised disclosures of private committee deliberations in contravention of the Senate standing orders and privilege resolutions. That is twice in two days. Senator Cameron’s consistent unauthorised disclosures of committee information and his complete disregard for parliamentary process not just is undermining the work of this particular committee but also brings the integrity of the Senate and the Australian parliament into disrepute.

Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (15:06): I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

Senator CAMERON: I find this absolutely unbelievable. I was basically summoned there this morning and I will not be treated as some criminal by Senator Paterson or Senator Reynolds. This is a cover-up that’s on. This is what’s going on here—trying to cover up Senator Cash’s involvement.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Sterle ): Senator Birmingham, on a point of order?

Senator Birmingham: Mr Acting Deputy President, this is a time in which personal explanations can be made. Personal explanations, of course, go to the heart of whether or not a senator has been misrepresented or some misconduct has occurred. Senator Cameron is quite transparently now seeking to debate an issue in relation to the conduct of a minister. There are other times in which senators can do so, but this is now not the time for doing so.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: There is no point of order. Senator Cameron sought leave and leave was granted.

Senator CAMERON: I am not going to be bullied by anyone to support a cover-up by Senator Cash, a cover-up by the chair of the committee and a cover-up by the coalition. This is absolutely disgusting behaviour from Senator Cash. She should resign or the Prime Minister should sack her.

Senator PATERSON (Victoria) (15:07): I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

Senator PATERSON: I make these comments in an effort to assist Senator Cameron. It may not have been his intention, but, when he came into the chamber to make a statement about the committee’s private deliberations, he was not aware of the full facts of the committee’s deliberations and, as a result, he informed the Senate incorrectly about what the committee did. I won’t go any further because to do so would be to breach the committee’s privilege, as he has done now twice in two days, but the statements he made in the Senate today were not true.

Chamber Senate on 15/11/2017 Item PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS Speaker: Cameron, Sen Doug/ Sen Paterson/ Sen Birmingham/ Sen REYNOLDS/ Photo & Copyright info Parliment of Australia website Transcript used for Reporting News