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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13264

Parliament: Integrity

Mr DREYFUS (IsaacsDeputy Manager of Opposition Business) (14:57): My question is to the Special Minister of State, who has responsibility for government integrity. Is it appropriate for a person to ask a Commonwealth officer to procure copies of the official diary of his employer when that Commonwealth officer is not authorised to provide copies to the person asking?

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will cease interjecting.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on my left will cease interjecting. A number have been warned.

Mr Bowen interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for McMahon will not interject when I am addressing the chamber. The Leader of the House.

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, I think you might wish to examine that question closely to determine that it does not ask the Special Minister of State for a legal opinion. It sounded very much like it did ask the Special Minister of State for a legal opinion. While I am sure he is prepared to answer the question, we do not want to be in breach of the standing orders.

Mr Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for McEwen is warned!

Mr Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for McEwen will cease interjecting. He will not interject advice from his seat. It is disorderly, and he well knows it.

Mr Burke: Mr Speaker, on the point of order, given that the question does not ask for a legal opinion, the question should be ruled in order.

The SPEAKER: The question certainly asks the minister for an opinion—there is no doubt about that.

Mr Burke: The question asks—

The SPEAKER: It might suit if I actually finish the sentence; it will save time. The question certainly does ask for an opinion. I think it is close to the line, but it does go to the minister's responsibility for administration. On that narrow basis, I am going to allow him to address that part of the question, but he does not have to answer hypothetical matters and he does not have to give a legal opinion.

Mr BROUGH (FisherMinister for Defence Materiel and Science and Special Minister of State) (14:59): The integrity of all things parliamentary should be everyone's duty here, as it is mine. I would say that, rather than play games, the question is obviously directed at the issue that is being canvassed in the paper. I have made a full statement, and none of what I have said has ever been repudiated, and nothing has ever been added to; I think it would do us all well to ensure that the grainy issues that are being dealt with by the authorities are done so.

The SPEAKER: the member for Melbourne Ports will not interject, particularly when he is out of his seat.