Wednesday, 24 March 2021
In an opinion piece in The Daily Telegraph yesterday, the Minister for Veterans' Affairs claimed I had refused to meet with ex-service organisation leaders who supported his national commissioner approach. This is simply untrue. I have had many meetings with ESO leaders, some of whom support a national commissioner approach. Many support a royal commission.
Secondly, the minister claimed I declined briefings on the national commissioner legislation. Again, that is untrue. I had a briefing on the legislation with officials of the Attorney-General's Department, who had carriage of the legislation, on 3 September last year. I think that veterans communities expect better from the minister.
I was interviewed yesterday morning and asked to comment on the Channel 10 report which dealt with the disgusting acts of some staff members in this place. I gave an extensive answer before the interview finished. Journalists tweeted a line out of the interview which had grossly taken my comments out of context. I said I was horrified to learn of the reports. I said there was a behavioural problem in this place and that it needed to be addressed. None of this was reported, and when it was the damage had been done. Myself and my staff have been subjected to the vilest abuse. While we have been in the chamber today I have been sent a message saying that the Leader of the Opposition's office sent out a message referring media organisations to the video on Twitter, which is shameful. I would urge all of those who seek to do this in the future to be mindful—
Opposition members interjecting—