Keating And Hewson Do Battle In Censure Debate Over Sports Rorts Affair

The Liberal Opposition Leader, John Hewson, moved a motion of censure against Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating, in the House of Representatives, on February 24, 1994.

Keating had been prime minister for just over two years. He had defeated Hewson at the general election in March 1993. His 1993 Budget had broken an election promise on tax cuts and was widely criticised.

The censure motion focussed on the “Sports Rorts” affair. The Minister for Environment, Sport and Territories, Ros Kelly, had admitted the she used a whiteboard in her office to determine grants to sporting bodies. She was alleged to have favoured Labor and marginal electorates when deciding on grants. Kelly resigned as a minister four days after the censure debate.

Three months after this debate, Hewson lost the leadership of the Liberal Party. He was defeated in a challenge by the so-called “dream team” of Alexander Downer and Peter Costello.

The speakers in the debate were John Hewson, Paul Keating, Tim Fischer and Kim Beazley. The complete Hansard transcript is shown below. The video has been edited by the Parliamentary Sound and Vision Office for broadcast.

  • Listen to Hewson (15m)
  • Listen to Keating (7m)
  • Listen to Fischer (14m)
  • Listen to Beazley (15m)
  • Watch the Censure Debate (50m)

Hansard transcript of the Censure debate in the House of Representatives on February 24, 1994.

Dr HEWSON (Leader of the Opposition) (3.00 p.m.) —I seek leave to move:

That this House censures the Prime Minister for his refusal to ensure proper standards of ministerial responsibility, for his failure to sack the Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories, and for his undermining of the established processes of ministerial accountability to this parliament. [Read more…]