***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***
This could be a personal explanation but the issue I am raising is not about me.
This morning, the Deputy Prime Minister said:
I remember Mr Shorten, didn't he stand outside a gold mine down in Tasmania, telling us all about how he, you know, he put on his hi-vis shirt and the bomber jacket, told us how he was all with the working man.
The Deputy Prime Minister went on, he said:
Well he's not with them now - he's left them for dead.
This is not a random comment from a Twitter troll.
This is the person who is meant to be the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.
It is true that I was at Beaconsfield.
But it is even more sadly true that a miner called Larry Knight died down that mine.
And I will never forget how after Larry's body was found, management talked about stopping this search so the Coroner could take control of the site – and it would become a recovery.
And I'll never forget the other miners who were doing rescuing, they said in front of the Superintendent's office, 'No, this is still a rescue operation - not a recovery. Until we know different, there are men down there who are still alive.'
Whilst those modest heroes dug through rock to save their workmates, the families of Brant and Todd went to hell and back not knowing if their men would return alive.
It is true I was at Beaconsfield, and it was a privilege to see how upwards of 250 people, and more in that community, and the miners, rescued two trapped miners.
But what I will never forget, Mr Speaker, is that on that remarkable morning when the two men came out of the cage - alive - that it was in fact Larry Knight's family who had held up the burial of their loved one so it wouldn't distract from the rescue of the two miners who were in fact saved.
So I simply ask this:
The Deputy Prime Minister, before he rises to speak on any other matter in the house today, come in here and please apologise.
Not to me, but to the family of Larry Knight, who didn't need this whole thing dragged up again by the thoughtless comments of Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.