Wednesday, 17 March 2021
Statement by the President
Members of Parliament: Staff
Senator Waters, I wasn't aware that you were going to make those particular comments that, in my view, unfairly impugn my motives or actions over the last few weeks. When you have asked questions, those answers have been provided. This statement was drafted in response to a specific question that was raised in the other place. I've consulted with you privately and given you the courtesy of explaining the approach we were taking over the last two weeks.
This involves matters under the administration of both houses; it's not something that I can do unilaterally. I am advised that the committee to which it is being sent is the appropriate committee to first look at this matter. That is set up by this Senate; it is not a committee set up by me. I operate under the rules that this entire Senate imposes on me. I might also say that I think it is only appropriate, after this decision was reached by the Speaker and myself, that we seek advice from the Clerk and, in my case, the Clerk of the Senate. I think it would be inappropriate of me to make such determinations without seeking such advice and providing it to the committee which, as you said, you are free to participate in. That is one of the reasons that it is the appropriate committee.
With respect to the question on notice you have asked: we are still within the window and, as I indicated to you privately, I am seeking to answer that question. I will do so in consultation with the advice that the committee receives from the Clerk. But I do reject the motives or implications that you said in your statement then, given that, at all times with respect to your questions, I think I've acted in good faith towards you and the questions you have asked.