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Tuesday, 1 February 1994
Page: 10

Dr HEWSON —My question is directed to the Prime Minister. Seeing the Prime Minister does not know what these standards are, I am keen to see whether he has adhered to them. I refer the Prime Minister to his predecessor's statement on public duty and private interests, which says

in respect of individual minister's income, assets or liabilities, that ministers have `declared those amounts to me in a confidential statement'. I therefore ask the Prime Minister: whilst he was Treasurer, did he so disclose to his predecessor in a confidential statement that in May 1991 he had purchased the shares in the Parkville piggery?

Mr KEATING —There is nothing lower than a Liberal Party leader who knows that he has gone. It is a particularly low form of political life. He has tried everything in his armoury and here he is hanging on a gossamer thread in his own party. He said that he was going to be above politics; he was going to be honest; and he was going to give us a new order of political behaviour. But he is back to the oldest Liberal Party trick in the business, down to the personal interests of MPs, in particular mine.

  Yesterday the Leader of the Opposition was clearing the party room of staff. He told those opposite that they all had to grow up. Within half an hour they nearly broke their shins and their ankles getting out to the radio stations and the newspapers to tell the world about the joke which had just been their party meeting. This is his standing, Mr Speaker. He has no idea of leadership, no idea of policy and no idea whatsoever about what he thinks—

Dr Hewson —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order under standing order 145 on relevance. I asked a very specific question as to whether the Prime Minister met a certain standard in filing a confidential report to the Prime Minister at the time in relation to his investment in a piggery. It should have a very direct answer.

Mr SPEAKER —The Prime Minister was referring to ministerial interests.

Mr KEATING —I declared my interests to the former Prime Minister whenever he required them of me, which was on every occasion. I discussed my interest in that investment in the piggery with the former Prime Minister, Mr Hawke, extensively. I purchased it one week before I resigned my position as Treasurer. The whole world knows it because I declared it in parliament and I declared it in my register. Let me say to those opposite that there is a whole lot I could declare about the Leader of the Opposition and the rest of those opposite. If they wish me to, I am quite happy to go through their personal affairs one after the other.