Mar 5, 2020

Personal Explanations – Misrepresentation – Thursday, 5 March 2020

Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the Opposition) (15:27): Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER: Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr ALBANESE: I claim to be misrepresented.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition may proceed.

Mr ALBANESE: Today in question time the Prime Minister repeated a claim he’s made outside this House: that there was a refusal to have a briefing from the Chief Medical Officer last Wednesday.

That is not true.

The facts are these: At 7.25 pm last Wednesday the health minister’s office rang the shadow health minister, Chris Bowen, saying that there’d been a mix-up in CMO Brendan Murphy’s office, and that he had arrived at Parliament to give the Opposition a briefing. That briefing went ahead at 7.30 pm with the Shadow Health Minister, my Chief of Staff and my senior health adviser. At that time, I was with the Prime Minister at the vigil for Hannah Clarke and her children.

That’s where I was when that phone call was made. I was unaware of any of this until the next day, and I confirmed with Brendan Murphy when I met with the CMO this week that that was the fact of what occurred.