Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3274 ..
You cannot do that. You cannot mislead. You cannot misspeak. You cannot come in here and say things that are not true and then just let it stand because you do not like Senator Seselja’s position or you do not like Senator Seselja or you think that there is some political capital to be made. For example, after this we are going to be debating a bail bill. Mr Rattenbury’s position is that he does not support that. I get that. I have made it clear that Mr Rattenbury will not be supporting it, but I have not been saying, “He tried to stop me from moving it. He explicitly told me not to move it,” which is not true. That is basically what we have here. We know what Senator Seselja’s position is on the bill that would have been before him on euthanasia. He is a man of conviction; he has his position.
That is his position. Whether you agree with it or not, that is what it is. It does not mean that, because you disagree with his position, you can mischaracterise it, misquote him or bolt together what seems to be a conspiracy theory by saying, “I read something here,” or “I read something there,” and “Someone said something over here,” when we have categorical statements from those federal senators involved that this was not true. Your evidence seems to be that it was okay to move this motion because “it seems to be about right; it seems to accord with other articles I saw, including what I said on the RiotACT”. When your evidence for something is your own comments on a website, you know you are in trouble.
We have reached a pretty grubby new standard here in the Legislative Assembly from the Labor Party and the Greens—that is, as I said, that you can come in here, make stuff up, essentially, and say things that are not true. It seems that you can mislead this Assembly, and you can then spread those misleads, those untruths, as far and wide as you like, including to the whole federal parliament. It seems that when you are caught out on it and when you have statements from federal senators—the only two people who would know what conversations were had—saying it is categorically false, somehow you can say, “No, we know better. And because we do not really like Senator Seselja’s position on this, and we think that there is political capital to be made, we will just continue with the smear and with a political attack.” That is the standard on this.
The Attorney-General and the Minister for Human Rights are championing the cause of this parliament in getting state rights. Mr Gentleman said that they could have made a statement in the Senate. Senator Seselja has written to every senator; he sent that letter to every senator. He is not shying away from it. He wants the public record to be corrected, and that is what he is doing here. But when you have the Attorney-General of this territory and the human rights minister of this territory behaving in such an untoward way on such an issue and trying to do grubby little point-scoring through misleads on an issue of territory rights then the senators and the members up on the hill will be looking at this place in despair.
To be honest, I am bitterly disappointed that this minister and the Attorney-General do not acknowledge the fact that, yes, it was a misstep, and, whatever led them to the conclusions they made, they accept that they got it wrong. They don’t say, “We got it wrong. It led us to move a motion and it led us to make some misstatements in our speeches, but now that the record has been made clear, we can see we were wrong.”