We weren’t going to make this into a thing, but LNP Senator Ian Macdonald embarrassed himself further in his estimates committee chairing yesterday. Again there were his requests for witnesses and even senators to repeat themselves — at one stage he asked Penny Wong to say something to him three times — and when Greens Senator Nick McKim moved a motion repeatedly (as in, 20 or 30 times) Macdonald claimed not to have heard him.
But the senator’s befuddlement becomes ever clearer. When Wong and McKim spent a long period grilling Administrative Appeals Tribunal staff on why Liberal Party identities had been appointed by Attorney-General George Brandis to the AAT right before the election was called, a confused Macdonald apparently decided that Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson — whom Macdonald had repeatedly attacked last Friday in another committee — was on the AAT and repeatedly asked when Gleeson had been appointed by Labor. He then demanded of AAT staff when “Labor senator Ruth Walker” had been appointed to the AAT. There is no Labor senator called Ruth Walker; there was one called Ruth Webber, from WA, about a decade ago, but we can’t find any record Webber was ever appointed to the AAT. Maybe Macdonald knows something we don’t.