Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 14697

Special Minister of State


Mr DREYFUS (IsaacsDeputy Manager of Opposition Business) (14:49): My question is to the Special Minister of State. I refer to the fact that James Ashby signed a statutory declaration confirming that everything he said in his 60 Minutes interview was true. How, then, does the minister reconcile his statements to the House with this exchange on 60 Minutes, where Hayes says to Ashby:

He's asking you to be deceptive? To hand over information that isn't Mal Brough's?

And Ashby responds:

I must admit I was more than willing to assist Mal with the information that he was seeking.

Why is the minister continuing to mislead the House?

The SPEAKER: Once again, the question is referring to the minister's previous answers, but it is seeking to introduce new material, and I think that takes it outside the standing orders. I will hear the member for Watson. I am trying to listen very carefully to the questions and the answers, as I have said.

Mr Burke: On a point of order, I put to you, Mr Speaker, that earlier, when you ruled out additional information, you were ruling out additional information that was coming from other sources to what the minister had referred to in his answers. This is from the same 60 Minutes program—the exact same program and not another article from somewhere else. It is the same program that the minister has referred to and this goes to the exact same issue as the Liz Hayes question.

Mr Pyne: On the point of order, I hear the member for Watson and his remarks. The point is that the minister has commented on the 60 Minutes program, but he is now being asked a question by the member for Isaacs about the remarks of Mr Ashby on the 60 Minutes program, about which the minister has not commented. Yet again the opposition are trying to extend and extend the boundaries of what they are trying to get up in question time. He has commented on the 60 Minutes program, so he can be commenting about what he has said, but he has never mentioned Mr Ashby's remarks on the 60 Minutes program.

Mr Brendan O'Connor interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Gorton will cease interjecting. I am going to allow member for Isaacs to rephrase the question that covers the substance of the minister's previous answers. He cannot be expected to deal with new information that he has not commented on in answer to questions. I give the member for Isaacs an opportunity to rephrase; he can do it now or I can move on to the next question.

Mr DREYFUS: My question is to the Special Minister of State. I refer to the questioning between Liz Hayes and James Ashby on the 60 Minutes program, to which the minister has referred, in particular Liz Hayes saying:

He's asking you to be deceptive? To hand over information that isn't Mal Brough's?

Mr Ashby's answer was:

I must admit I was more than willing to assist Mal with the information that he was seeking.

How is that answer in the same program consistent with what the minister has told this House repeatedly?

The SPEAKER: I will allow the minister to address the question in the way he sees fit.








Mr BROUGH (FisherMinister for Defence Materiel and Science and Special Minister of State) (14:52): Thanks again, Mr Speaker. Again, the member for Isaacs continues to try and prosecute a case of innuendo and press release and media commentary. What the Australian Federal Police are looking at is the law, and the law seeks to answer the question: did anyone procure or counsel another person and then pass information on to a third person? That is what they will seek to answer. I have said categorically: I did not procure, counsel or pass any information to any third party in relation to this matter.