Opposition Senator Anil Roberts could not attend Parliament’s Privileges Committee hearings on his contempt matter since he suffers from asthma and his doctor advised if he was exposed in the COVID-19 pandemic it could be “disastrous”.
Opposition Senator Wade Mark indicated this during yesterday’s Senate debate on the Privileges Committee’s report calling for Roberts to apologise to the Senate for contempt.
The report was passed by Government and Independent senators.
The issue focused on two videos made in February and aired on social media by Roberts after Senate president Christine Kangaloo instructed him to leave the chamber.
The videos involved clips of Senate proceedings and alluded to a “kangaroo court.”
Mark claimed the report was flawed and had deficiencies as the Privileges Committee didn’t speak with Roberts. He said Roberts was “dying to come” to Committee meetings but had a medical problem – asthma.
He said he could not recall the Committee writing Roberts to seek a medical certificate on his asthmatic condition. Mark who was on the Committee said “we’’ should have requested the medical certificate from Roberts.
He claimed the Committee “rushed“ to conclude the matter before Parliament’s recess yesterday and lacked time to deal with natural justice procedures.
After Roberts was put out of the Senate by the Senate President, his mental state had to be considered, Mark added.
He didn’t feel Roberts deliberately and maliciously set out to “reflect on the President.”
Mark said Roberts could control himself, but sometimes one’s emotions “can overtake one’s thinking“ and one had to be conscious of all factors. He advised Government to look within its own party to “see who was the biggest bully.”