Page 1091 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 21 March 2012

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Mr Hanson said that I “collared” Mr Seselja, “hooked into” him, and gave him an “expletive laden tirade” in a “vile fashion”. Each element of this accusation is false. My recollection is that I did utter one singular expletive in a discussion I was having with Mr Seselja, but the discussion was a robust one. I did not know that Mr Seselja was so sensitive that the use of one singular expletive upset him. I hope that Mr Seselja never watches The Thick of It; he may find it a little tough going. I now do know that he is this delicate, and I will ensure that if I do disagree with the Leader of the Opposition in the future I will restrict myself entirely to the Queen’s English. Further, use of the word “collared” evokes images of me physically dealing with Mr Seselja. Let me be clear: nothing could be further from the truth.

Furthermore, I have admitted that I used one singular expletive. To label my comments as an “expletive laden tirade”—it is really one of those occasions where the story has grown in the telling. I can only imagine why that might be the case.

Finally, I would like to provide some context to the comments of Mr Hanson. Shortly before the MPI, I had a discussion with Mr Hanson in which he complained to me as Speaker about another member. I undertook to review the Hansard tapes. Mr Hanson would have known that to do this I was required to leave the chamber and seek the assistance of Hansard and recording staff. Of course, that meant that I would not be listening to proceedings of the MPI, as I would have been listening to the recordings of the previous debate which Mr Hanson was agitated about.

I find it highly illustrative of how proud Mr Hanson was of his comments that he chose to make them at a point in the day when he not only knew I was out of the chamber but also knew that I could not possibly be listening to live proceedings. This goes very much to the character of Mr Hanson.

In conclusion, I was disappointed with the lack of policy that we heard from Mr Hanson, and I think it is important to correct the record about my discussion with Mr Seselja.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.35 pm.

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