Senators back clerk after Palmer goes on attack

SENATORS are standing behind Upper House clerk Dr Rosemary Laing after Fairfax MP Clive Palmer  said she should "get out of that job" if she would not act on his instructions.

Dr Laing told the Palmer United Party that an amendment it wanted to make to legislation that would dismantle the carbon tax was unconstitutional.

Mr Palmer disputes the advice.

The legislation is expected to be passed when it lands in front of the Senate today.

Mr Palmer has also been accused of yelling at Dr Laing on Thursday night, a claim he denies.

The billionaire said he did, however, threaten a High Court injunction.

The ABC reported Mr Palmer said, "She can't interfere and stop them from doing it - that's what it boils down to.

Otherwise you get a bureaucrat being able to veto legislation and we don't want that. That's what happens in Stalinist Russia".

"We don't seek her advice - we seek to put things to the Senate and she's inconsequential to us as to what she thinks. It's what the Australian people think and what they've elected us to do.

"Our party will always want to put things that we decide, not what the clerks decide.

"She's not a member of our party, she hasn't been elected to Parliament, she's employed by the Parliament to draft legislation in accordance with instructions and she can't really refuse those instructions."

Mr Palmer added: "If that's her job, well, she has to get out of that job".

Greens Leader Christine Milne and DLP Senator John Madigan have each praised Dr Laing and Senate clerks more generally.

Labor Senator John Faulkner told the chamber on Monday it should feel lucky to have "such a professional and impartial service to all senators - government, opposition, minor party and independent".



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