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Monday, 15 June 2009
Page: 5908


Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR (Minister for Home Affairs) (4:00 PM) —Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


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


Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR —Yes.


The SPEAKER —Please proceed.


Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR —The Daily Telegraph yesterday alleged that a staff member of my electorate office had placed his APH address on his private blog and that his private blog was linked to a pornographic blog. The staff member in question did inadvertently place his APH address on his blog, for which he has been counselled.


Mr Truss —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This part of the program of the parliament is designed for members to explain where they have been personally misrepresented, not their staff.


The SPEAKER —I will listen to the minister and for the way in which this relates to him.


Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR —The APH address has been removed from his blog. However—


Ms Julie Bishop —How does this relate to you?


Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR —Because the heading of the article is ‘Minister embarrassed’.


Ms Julie Bishop —Well, aren’t you?


Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR —You are embarrassing; that is what you are.


The SPEAKER —Order! The minister will resume his seat. Those on my left will cease interjecting. The minister has the call.


Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR —However, it is untrue that his private blog was linked to a pornographic site. The site referred to in the article is called AwkwardFamilyPhotos and it is currently linked to many public sites, including, would you believe it, the Daily Telegraph site. On 19 May, the Daily Telegraph website described the site as ‘taking the world by storm, allowing readers to post cringe-worthy family portraits, along with witty captions and headlines’. I table the Daily Telegraph website page that links to the site in question. I am confident that this now clears up any misunderstanding by the Daily Telegraph and the journalist involved.


Ms Julie Bishop —That was an abuse of the processes of the parliament.


The SPEAKER —An abuse of the processes of the parliament is to sit there and interject. I indicate that perhaps that might have been wide of the mark, but, given that the minister is a portfolio minister in the Attorney-General’s Department, it may have assisted to clarify those matters.