Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Prime Minister said in question time that last Thursday I was ‘hiding’ and ‘in an abyss’. In fact, I was at the Parramatta Leagues Club, in the company of hundreds of other Australians, where I spoke at and supported the official launch of the Greater Western Sydney Red Shield Doorknock appeal of the Salvation Army, whose officers work selflessly to lift so many Australians out of an abyss of despair, poverty, abuse and addiction. Mr Speaker, if I may add, the doorknock appeal on 23 and 24 May deserves all of our support.
A week ago the Townsville Bulletin reported on the study trip that I undertook during the autumn break. The Townsville Bulletin said that the estimated cost of my trip was $100,000. Everybody knows that there is no entitlement for $100,000. The actual cost was about $15,500.
During the summing up of the alcopops debate, the Minister for Health and Ageing suggested that in my remarks I indicated that I stood for legalising the drug ecstasy. I have no such position. I am firmly against illicit drugs, unlike the minister for health and those on the other side.
Order! The member for Mackellar will resume her seat and the Leader of the House will resume his seat. The real difficulty is that, in making his personal explanation, the last phrase of the explanation was debating the point and was outside of a personal explanation. On those occasions in the past where a comment was outside of the processes of the parliament I have invited members to withdraw their comment on that basis, and I ask the member for Mayo to withdraw on that basis.
One of the useful definitions of ‘unparliamentary’ that the member for O’Connor raises with me from time to time is ‘the type of remark that is probably going to lead to disorderly behaviour within the chamber’. The member for Canning has suffered because of the way in which I have ruled in this manner. He said something which I may have allowed him if he had said it in a debate, but I asked him to withdraw it because he made the comment by interjection. I am just saying that the member for Mayo went on to debate the question after making what was a very proper personal explanation. I am simply asking him to withdraw it.
Mr Speaker, further to my point of order, the minister who made the statement about the member who has just made his personal explanation made a similar statement, and I think it would be only reasonable that if you insist on the member for Mayo withdrawing you should also insist that the minister for health do likewise. That would be equitable.
No, I did not. My point was that the government is claiming that this is part of their infrastructure upgrades but, in actual fact, the decision was made months ago by the Mount Gambier council. The building was started months ago; therefore, there is no way that the $5 million announced yesterday—