Nov 28, 2019

Motions – Prime Minister – Thursday, 28 November 2019

Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the Opposition) (09:31): I seek leave to move the following motion:

   That the house:

   (1) notes that:

   (a) in attempting to defend a Minister who has deliberately misled the Parliament, the Prime Minister misled the Parliament;

   (b) yesterday in Question Time, the Prime Minister told the House that in March 2013, a then detective in Victoria Police’s fraud squad, Ross Mitchell, made a statement about former Prime Minister Julia Gillard;

   (c) that statement was made word for word by radio host Ben Fordham—a fact which was clear from The Australian newspaper article dated 27 April 2013 by Hedley Thomas which reports that statement;

   (d) late yesterday, the Prime Minister admitted that he had misled the Parliament but despite House of Representatives Practice being clear that a misleading of Parliament can be corrected by either making a statement to the House or writing to the Clerk of the House, the Prime Minister instead directed that letter to the Speaker be tabled by another Minister; and

   (e) the Prime Minister has refused repeated calls from the Leader of the Opposition to attend the House at 9.30 am today to correct the record in the form demanded by the House; and

(2) therefore, calls on the Prime Minister to do what is required by both House of Representatives Practice and his own Ministerial Standards and immediately attend the Chamber to correct his misleading statement.

Mr Porter: Just before I—

Mr ALBANESE: I’m seeking leave.

Mr Porter: I understand that and I’m seeking a clarification from the Speaker before I answer your request for leave.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition can resume his seat. The Leader of the House has a query to me.

Mr Porter: Mr Speaker, you noted yesterday that there were three potential ways in which, in this case, a misattribution of a quote could be cleared—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: I am just going to say to those on my left: I’m pretty tolerant when those on my left seek the call. If you want me to be less tolerant, it will be all around. I’m going to hear from the Leader of the House. I’ll decide whether what he’s saying is relevant or not, okay? I don’t need any interventions.

Mr Porter: You noted that that can be done directly on indulgence. The Prime Minister was paired out last evening for a personal matter. You noted that, whilst it’s not usual, a letter could be tabled to provide the clarification. As you noted, that is a mechanism to allow for that clarification to be made as quickly as possible. The third way in which it could happen is noted at page 566 of Practice, whereby the clarification can be given in writing to the Clerk and the Clerk would, in due course, treat that in the same manner as an answer to a question in writing, which would find its way onto the record some short time after the provision of that letter.

That letter to the Clerk, in precisely and substantially the same terms as the letter that was provided to you, has been provided to the Clerk by the Prime Minister this morning. So two of the three possible ways in which that clarification could be made have been made, and, in those circumstances, the Practice has been abided with, clearly, in the way that you indicated it needed to be, or should have been, or can be, yesterday.

The SPEAKER: I’ll just make a couple of points, quickly, on the matter. The most important thing is, notwithstanding anything the Leader of the House says, that doesn’t prevent anyone from moving a motion in the terms that the Leader of the Opposition has done. Even if I felt it did, it would be wrong for me to make a judgement on all of that, because they’re matters that can be debated, if the debate is pursued. That’s part of the point of it. In any event, there are so many aspects to the motion. The Leader of the House is entitled to point out what he’s pointed out, and that can be pointed out as he did just then or in any debate that might follow. The Leader of the Opposition had sought leave. I call the Leader of the House.

Mr Porter: Leave is not granted.

Mr ALBANESE: What has just occurred is that I sought leave to move a motion. The Leader of the House responded, got to speak to the motion, and then didn’t grant leave.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat.

Mr ALBANESE: That’s what’s just happened.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition will just resume his seat for a second. I just said to the Leader of the House that I was happy to hear him on the issue of the motion and, in doing so, I gave some latitude for him to speak. Leave has now not been granted, so the Leader of the Opposition can move his motion. I call the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr ALBANESE: Given the new low in shutting down democratic debate in this House, I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent the Member for Grayndler from moving the following motion immediately—That the House:

(1) notes that:

(a) in attempting to defend a Minister who has deliberately misled the Parliament, the Prime Minister misled the Parliament;

(b) yesterday in Question Time, the Prime Minister told the House that in March 2013, a then detective in Victoria Police’s fraud squad, Ross Mitchell, made a statement about former Prime Minister Julia Gillard;

(c) that statement was made word for word by radio host Ben Fordham—a fact which was clear from The Australian newspaper article dated 27 April 2013 by Hedley Thomas which reports that statement;

(d) late yesterday, the Prime Minister admitted that he had misled the Parliament but despite House of Representatives Practice being clear that a misleading of Parliament can be corrected by either making a statement to the House or writing to the Clerk of the House, the Prime Minister instead directed that letter to the Speaker be tabled by another Minister; and

(e) the Prime Minister has refused repeated calls from the Leader of the Opposition to attend the House at 9.30 am today to correct the record in the form demanded by the House; and

(2) therefore, calls on the Prime Minister to do what is required by both House of Representatives Practice and his own Ministerial Standards and immediately attend the Chamber to correct his misleading statement.

The Leader of the House had an opportunity to—

Mr PORTER (PearceAttorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Leader of the House) (09:39): I move:

That the Member be no longer heard.

The SPEAKER: The question is that the Leader of the Opposition be no further heard.

The House divided. [09:43]

(The Speaker—Hon. Tony Smith)

DIVISION:AYES 73 (7 majority) NOES 66 PAIRS 0
AYES NOES PAIRS
Alexander, JG Allen, K
Andrews, KJ Andrews, KL
Archer, BK Bell, AM
Broadbent, RE Buchholz, S
Chester, D Christensen, GR
Conaghan, PJ Connelly, V
Coulton, M Drum, DK (teller)
Dutton, PC Entsch, WG
Evans, TM Falinski, JG
Fletcher, PW Flint, NJ
Frydenberg, JA Gee, AR
Gillespie, DA Goodenough, IR
Hammond, CM Hastie, AW
Hawke, AG Hogan, KJ
Howarth, LR Hunt, GA
Irons, SJ Joyce, BT
Kelly, C Laming, A
Landry, ML Leeser, J
Ley, SP Littleproud, D
Liu, G Marino, NB
Martin, FB McCormack, MF
McIntosh, MI McVeigh, JJ
Morrison, SJ Morton, B
O’Brien, LS O’Brien, T
Pasin, A Pearce, GB
Pitt, KJ Porter, CC
Price, ML Ramsey, RE (teller)
Robert, SR Sharma, DN
Simmonds, J Stevens, J
Sukkar, MS Taylor, AJ
Tehan, DT Thompson, P
Tudge, AE van Manen, AJ
Wallace, AB Webster, AE
Wicks, LE Wilson, RJ
Wilson, TR Wood, JP
Wyatt, KG Young, T
Zimmerman, T
Albanese, AN Aly, A
Bandt, AP Bird, SL
Bowen, CE Burns, J
Butler, MC Butler, TM
Byrne, AM Chalmers, JE
Clare, JD Coker, EA
Collins, JM Conroy, PM
Dick, MD Dreyfus, MA
Elliot, MJ Fitzgibbon, JA
Freelander, MR Georganas, S
Giles, AJ Gorman, P
Gosling, LJ Haines, H
Hayes, CP Hill, JC
Husic, EN Jones, SP
Kearney, G Keogh, MJ
Khalil, P King, CF
King, MMH Leigh, AK
Marles, RD McBride, EM
Mitchell, BK Mitchell, RG
Mulino, D Murphy, PJ
Neumann, SK O’Connor, BPJ
O’Neil, CE Owens, JA
Payne, AE Perrett, GD
Phillips, FE Plibersek, TJ
Rishworth, AL Rowland, MA
Ryan, JC (teller) Sharkie, RCC
Shorten, WR Smith, DPB
Snowdon, WE Stanley, AM (teller)
Steggall, Z Swanson, MJ
Templeman, SR Thistlethwaite, MJ
Thwaites, KL Vamvakinou, M
Watts, TG Wells, AS
Wilson, JH Zappia, A

Question agreed to.