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Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Page: 13716

Prime Minister


Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:10): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to her recent statements that she knew nothing about bank accounts associated with Bruce Wilson and the AWU.

Government members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order!

Ms JULIE BISHOP: Isn't it the case that the Prime Minister accompanied Bruce Wilson to a meeting of the AWU in Boulder in May 1992, and advocated on behalf of Mr Wilson that the control of the moneys within the AWU fatal accident or death fund be transferred to the control of Mr Wilson? Why didn't the Prime Minister reveal this fund in her recent press conferences?




Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:10): To the Deputy Leader of the Opposition's question: I think the matter she raises was canvassed in the West Australian, as we know from parliament yesterday. She thinks that is a secret document, the West Australian but I refer her to the West Australian where these matters were dealt with.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, this fund, the fatal accident or death fund, was not referred to—

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will—

Government members: Isn't that a point of order?

The SPEAKER: Order! The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. It is for me to determine those things. I do not need assistance in that manner.

Mr PYNE: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. The AWU fatal accident or death fund from Boulder was not referred to in any newspaper yesterday, and therefore the Prime Minister cannot be relevant by dismissing it in that way.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. That was a clear breach of the House process for raising a point of order. If the Manager of Opposition Business wants to go to relevance, he knows he should start with relevance and then go to the issue. There are other processes in the House if the Manager of Opposition Business seeks to take that up—and now is obviously not the time today to do that. The Manager of Opposition Business can do that at the end of question time. I do not believe the Prime Minister has concluded her answer.

Ms GILLARD: Given the Manager of Opposition Business may have misheard, but he certainly misquoted, I was not referring to a newspaper yesterday; I was referring to the West Australian from several weeks ago.

I am amazed to get this question from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who is unable to remember who she spoke to a week ago—and she is asking me to deal with events of 20 years ago! She is unable to tell who she has got on the phone but here she is, day after day, pretending that she is interested in the answer to questions about 20 years ago. For the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, this throwing of mud really turned into an embarrassment yesterday. She is humiliated and today was pulled by the opposition—

Mr Dutton: Why don't you answer the question!

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will return to the question. The member for Dickson is warned.

Ms GILLARD: from any public appearances because she is so embarrassing to them. To the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, I refer her to what her colleagues are saying about this campaign and to the statements of Hugh Riminton on Channel 10 last night—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will return to the question.

Ms GILLARD: The quote will take us centrally there. Hugh Riminton on Channel 10 last night said—

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, on a point of order, and with great respect to you, the Prime Minister is openly defying your asking her to come back to the question and so therefore she is out of order.

That is the point of order, Rumpole.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will withdraw.

Mr Hockey: Rumpole?

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: It is in the context, as I said yesterday.

Mr Pyne: I am happy to withdraw 'Rumpole'.

The SPEAKER: Thank you. The member for Canning may be withdrawing very soon. It is in the context; as I have said, there is not a list—it is the tone, the intonation and the context. The Prime Minister has the call and if she was going to demonstrate to me that the quote was in order, I can accept that.

Ms GILLARD: I am quoting Hugh Riminton from Channel Ten last night:

They—

that is the opposition—

are accusing the Prime Minister of acting illegally, when senior frontbenchers are conceding privately—

conceding very cheerfully—

… that they don't have any evidence to back up that very serious charge at all.

The cheerful concession is because they too know that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition's performance on this matter has been embarrassing. If the Deputy Leader of the Opposition were serious about this issue how come she did not give a press conference to deal with it?

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume her seat.





















Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:15): Madam Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. I refer to the Prime Minister's last answer and ask: why didn't the Prime Minister, in her recent press conferences, reveal the existence of the AWU fatal accident or death fund and the advice she gave Mr Wilson and the advocacy she gave at the meeting? And why won't she answer my question today about this new fund?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:15): I have just indicated to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that the matter she is raising is not new. It has been canvassed in the West Australian. I suggest that she go and have a look at the West Australian. More generally, how many calls does the Deputy Leader of the Opposition get where this sort of thing is just handed over? How come Michael Smith has her number, anyway? Does John Pasquarelli have her number? Does Pauline Hanson have her number? This absurdity from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is embarrassing to her and it is embarrassing to the Leader of the Opposition.

Opposition members interjecting

Ms GILLARD: It is his strategy and the bellowing is trying to cover up the red faces. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition wanted to spend this week as a starring character in an investigative drama; she has ended up as the winning candidate on Red Faces.