Senate debates

Friday, 22 June 2012


Appropriation Bill (No. 5) 2011-2012, Appropriation Bill (No. 6) 2011-2012; Second Reading

11:02 am

Photo of Barnaby JoyceBarnaby Joyce (Queensland, National Party, Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

An issue has come back to light not by the recent actions of any person in the coalition but by the statements of a former Attorney-General of the Commonwealth of Australia in the other chamber, a person who most would say deserves the title 'honourable'. I have never found Mr McClelland to be vindictive, haphazard or unnecessarily partisan. He is a fair, reasonable and decent person and therefore the statements that he makes have to be taken seriously. At times like this, we must have the courage to reopen the files and have a look at what went on here.

Without being trite, I always remember one of my favourite movies, The Thin Red Line, and the discussions between Travolta and Nick Nolte, who was playing the character Colonel Tall. On the deck of the frigate when they were going in, he said, 'The closer to Caesar, the greater the fear.' Well may you have fear the closer you get to this Caesar, because we have seen the deliberate actions taken against those who dare to question. I have been listening in the last week to Senator Conroy talking about transparency and unreasonable influence on the media. One must assume that if he professes that creed in here then he believes in it. We must look closely at exactly what happens to people who follow that creed. Senator Brandis has already spelt out that this has had consequences for people. A range of people have done the right thing by our nation by trying to be transparent on an issue, which the Australian people have a right to know about, because it goes to the highest offices of our land. Mr Glenn Milne from the Australian basically lost his job. Mr Michael Smith, a person who acted as a police officer and detective for a number of years, a person who is extremely capable, not just on radio but in his understanding of the law, lost his job. They did not lose their jobs because they lied. That has never been asserted. It is because they breached editorial direction. And who was the person most aggrieved by that breach of editorial direction? Apparently it came from the Prime Minister's office. This influences the liberty of the fourth estate to express their views. If it was a case that could be defended no doubt somebody could have come out of the Prime Minister's office and defended it. That was not the case. They found the messenger and shot them.

That being the case I wish to go back over a number of documented cases and re-investigate this. Labor sources from Gillard's office have said in the past that they were looking at people and what they did in their 'younger days'.


No comments