Documents - Deputy Prime Minister - Order for the Production of Documents

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (13:30): This is a motion to suspend standing orders to deal with a matter that has already been raised a number of times in this chamber. If there is any doubt whatsoever about any member of parliament, the right institution to determine that is the High Court, not a kangaroo court of this chamber, which the Greens keep trying to set up.

I say to Senator McKim, by interjection, that it has been raised in several newspapers that he is English-born and has never, as I understand it, shown any material on how he has renounced that citizenship.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Marshall ): Senator McKim, a point of order?

Senator McKim: Senator Macdonald is misleading the Senate. What he has just said is false.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: That is not a point of order.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Perhaps, if Senator McKim takes some umbrage at that, he could easily fix it by tabling the documents in the Senate, which is what he asked everybody else to do. You see, it is always one rule for everyone else and a separate rule for the Greens political party. I might say to anyone having the misfortune to listen to this debate that Senator McKim was once a minister in a government—albeit, the government of Tasmania—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator McKim, a point of order?

Senator McKim: He's taking pot shots at my home state of Tasmania, which I resent and which every Tasmanian will resent.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: It is not a point of order.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. You can see this particular senator has no respect for the chamber and keeps trying to stop other people from having their say, which is typical of the Greens. They always rail about freedom of speech. They talk about it for everyone else, but when people try to say something they continually take alleged points of order which they know are not points of order.

As I was saying, Senator McKim was—would anyone believe?—once a minister in a government, albeit the government of Tasmania. I might ask Senator McKim: how many legal advices did the government of which you were once a member release publicly? I put the same question to Senator Collins. We've heard what Mr Gareth Evans, former senator and Attorney-General, said about releasing legal advice. Senator Collins, you might indicate to us how many times your party in government did that. If it is one or two, I would be interested in hearing about it. But I certainly follow the dictum of former Senator Evans in relation to legal advice. I invite Senator McKim to indicate how many times the government of which he was a member released legal advice.

Senator McKim, in his flowery speech, spoke about a crisis of confidence in democracy. If there were ever an example of a crisis of confidence in democracy, it is the Greens political party. Time and time again we see the Greens political party wasting the resources of this parliament and stopping proper debate on an important bill that the government is trying to deal with by this Mickey Mouse suggestion of getting some legal advice. I refer to a Greens motion where they set up, with the support of the Labor Party and the Xenophon party, a committee to look into a matter of political donations, which is exactly the same thing a joint standing committee—a permanent standing committee of this parliament—is looking into at this very moment. It is exactly the same thing, exactly the same subject, and yet the Greens political party, supported by the Labor Party and by Senator Xenophon, are setting up yet another committee to do exactly the same.

So we're going to have two parliamentary committees inquiring into the same thing. Witnesses are going to be confused. We're using the resources of the Senate, which are limited—you wouldn't believe it if you saw the number of ridiculous inquiries the Greens have set up. The resources of the Senate are limited. Those resources should be directed towards real inquiries, not something where another committee is doing exactly the same. Mr Acting Deputy President, there, in that corner, is the crisis in democracy in Australia.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Marshall ): Senator Hinch, you have already spoken to the question, so I won't call you.

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