Thursday, 3 December 2020
I would like to make a statement about a personal matter that occurred in the Federation Chamber today. The member for Bruce had an unparliamentary outbreak that was vicious and personal. But, worse than that, it was misleading. In this case, the member for Bruce accused me of holding a view that I do not hold, simply because I live in a certain postcode. Essentially, the member for Bruce was judging me by my postcode. Quite simply, this misrepresents me as a person but also misrepresents my constituents of Higgins. It is class warfare. It is un-Australian.
Opposition members interjecting—
Members on my left! The member for Higgins has stated where she believes she was misrepresented. It's not a matter for a wider debate. Very generally, for the benefit of all members, the subject matter—and I haven't seen all of the footage—was brought to my attention, I need to say, by officials within the House. While debates become robust, certainly, on what I've seen, I do have to say that the conduct in that contribution by the member for Bruce was unacceptable. There's no point in any of us ducking that. I also want to say to the member for Macarthur, who I've appointed to the Speaker's panel, that from what I saw he certainly discharged his duties absolutely to the best of his ability in what were difficult circumstances. I haven't had the opportunity to speak to the member for Bruce. I've certainly spoken with the Deputy Speaker, but I haven't had the opportunity to speak to the member for Macarthur. That's all I'm going to say at this point, but I certainly reserve my rights to come back to the subject at another time. The member for Chifley?
Mr Speaker, I seek your guidance. I was in the Federation Chamber at the tail end of the contribution. I wish to draw to your attention—though you may already be aware—to the fact that the member for Higgins did seek the call from the Deputy Speaker and did put the same or similar points then, and I would ask for your guidance as to how many opportunities you get to address those complaints. If you've addressed them once, do you have the right to do it again here today?
The answer is you do. I've seen the footage, as I said. I haven't studied all the context of the debate, and I wasn't in the chamber. But I only know what I saw, and what I saw was the member for Higgins raise a point of order. For the member for Chifley and others: raising a point of order does not prevent you claiming to be misrepresented, under the standing orders, here in the House. I won't go any further on the subject at this time.