Jun 20, 2007

Questions without Notice – Ministerial Staff (1)

Questions without Notice – Ministerial Staff (1)

20 June 2007

Mr ALBANESE (2.56 p.m.)—My question is to the Attorney-General. I refer the Attorney-General to the tabled list of government personal staffing arrangements, which identifies that 13 positions are allocated to him. How many of these 13 allocated positions are used to staff your ministerial office at 70 Phillip Street, Sydney? Do all the functions of the staff in your ministerial office at 70 Phillip Street, Sydney, relate directly to your role as the first law officer of the Commonwealth?

The SPEAKER—Before calling the Attorney-General, I would remind the Manager of Opposition Business that he should not use the words ‘you’ or ‘your’ in his question.

Mr RUDDOCK—I thank the honourable member for the question that he asked because it enables me to deal with a rather ill-informed article in the Bulletin today—a matter which could have been easily addressed if the reporter made an attempt to speak to me or my staff to verify the claims that were made. The simple answer in relation to the question that the honourable member asks implicitly is that there is no ‘dirt unit’ in my office in Sydney or anywhere else. There have been many people who, from time to time, have been in my office and would know and have been in a position to see that there are not six to eight extra people in my office. Like the Labor Party, I have staff who provide me with advice on issues relating to my portfolio and issues relating to my ministerial responsibilities. The people who work from Sydney in my office provide me with policy advice and the support I need to serve the Australian people. Like the Labor Party members opposite, I would expect my staff to be cognisant of current issues, to read newspapers, to listen to the radio and to watch the TV news so that they can tell me what mistakes those on the other side are making, particularly when you read articles like that.