Page 591 - Week 02 - Thursday, 19 February 2015

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Mr Hanson: I would not disagree with that.

MR BARR: I know; I understand that. That is your starting point. We saw that in that tortuous 15-minute performance by the Leader of the Opposition in relation to the individuals who are of greatest concern to the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Hanson: Of interest, of concern, relevant to the debate.

MR BARR: Yes, indeed. What summed up for me just how ridiculous this whole thing was is the headline of the article recognising Angus Houston’s great contribution, where he says, “Don’t call me sir.” Whilst accepting what was the highest honour, he did not want to be called sir. At no point have I made that suggestion. That was a fiction invented by the Leader of the Opposition.

Given the moves by Andrew Laming, and I understand to be seconded by Warren Entsch, to introduce a private member’s bill into the federal parliament to abolish this anachronism, the support today of the Assembly in a unanimous sense will give strength to those Liberal backbenchers to have the courage to move the private member’s motion in the federal parliament. I put on the public record my best wishes to Mr Laming and Mr Entsch in their attempts to have the federal parliament address this issue. I hope that they are successful in their private member’s bill.

I say very clearly, Madam Speaker, to this place that I have no qualms at all about putting my personal position on these issues on the public record. I have done so today. I am a republican. I am a founding member of the Australian National University’s republican club that goes back to the early 1990s. I have stood next to Malcolm Turnbull, arguing in support of an Australian republic, and I am prepared to have the courage of my convictions.

Mr Smyth: On what side? Where were you standing?

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, come to order.

MR BARR: On both sides of Mr Turnbull over the years, Madam Speaker. So I am prepared to have the courage of my convictions and to put forward my personal values in this debate and other debates. As Mr Rattenbury very clearly highlighted, it is a very clear point of difference, and we have seen that writ large in the contributions to this debate. So congratulations, Mr Smyth, on your courage in supporting this and thank you for leading the Canberra Liberal Party to this important outcome. All power to you on progressive issues, as I know—

MADAM SPEAKER: Address the chair, Mr Barr.

MR BARR: All power to Mr Smyth on progressive issues because I know it is a difficult fight within the Canberra Liberals on those matters. I thank members for their support of this motion today.

Motion agreed to.

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