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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 13954

Prime Minister


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:37): My question is to the Prime Minister. How can the Prime Minister claim that she never made false representations about the AWU Workplace Reform Association when the application for incorporation states it is for 'the development of change to work to achieve safe workplaces'? This is in her own handwriting. How can she claim that she made no false representations to the corporate affairs commission of Western Australia?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:37): Here we are, the Leader of the Opposition has had 15 minutes to put up or shut up and where is he back to? Old allegations. Fifteen minutes to put up or shut up and he is back to old allegations. The Leader of the Opposition had his opportunity to clearly state to the Australian people what I had done wrong, and he manifestly failed to do so. I wait for the apology that should come following his performance on the Today show this morning.

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

Ms GILLARD: The Leader of the Opposition well knows that in 1995, in an interview with Slater & Gordon, I answered questions about the incorporation of this association and its objects and purposes.

Opposition members interjecting

Ms GILLARD: Whoever shouted that shouted an untruth to the parliament.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition put a very straightforward and factual question to the Prime Minister and she should be required to answer it, given that the document is in her own handwriting—she wrote the name into the document.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: The Leader of the Opposition well knows that in a press conference in August I explained the objects and purposes of the association. I did that again at a press conference this week. The Leader of the Opposition should know that it is Ralph Blewitt who sought the incorporation of this association, signed the form and took responsibility for then incorporating it. The Leader of the Opposition should well know that the commissioner then incorporated the association, obviously having been satisfied about the nature of the association and that it acquitted WA law. Any other statement by the Leader of the Opposition is sleaze and smear and untruth. This is a man who this morning alleged a crime and today has backed that down to conduct unbecoming, and who now is just scrabbling around grasping at straws to try to extricate himself from the fact that he has put himself in exactly the same position the member for Wentworth did with the Grech and Utegate affair—he has gone out and made an allegation he cannot possibly substantiate because it is untrue.

As I have said on numerous occasions, I did nothing wrong in this matter and no amount of sleaze and smear from the opposition will ever change those facts and that truth. Here we are today with no clear allegation even being put by the opposition. I anticipate that the opposition will keep dipping into this bucket of mud because the truth is they do not know how to do anything else. They do not know how to talk about jobs, how to talk about education, how to talk about health; they cannot be bothered coming to the chamber when we are introducing school funding legislation, they cannot be bothered sitting in the chamber when we are introducing the National Disability Insurance Scheme. This happens day after day after day after day. This is a Leader of the Opposition who is sure full of political brawn. If you want someone to lift heavy weights, he is your man. What he will never be able to do is lead this nation. (Time expired)








Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:41): Madam Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. How can the Prime Minister claim that she had absolutely nothing to do with the incorporation of the association when the transcript of her exit interview clearly shows that the incorporation only happened after specific additional representations by the Prime Minister?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:41): The Leader of the Opposition has just misled the parliament about the nature of the material in the transcript that has been provided and is reported in newspapers today, in some newspapers entirely inaccurately.

Opposition members interjecting

Ms GILLARD: No amount of screaming changes words on a page. The transcript goes to dealing with a query as to whether or not this was a trade union. It was not a trade union. Even in his wildest and darkest moments while he has been out alleging crimes, the Leader of the Opposition has never said this body was a trade union. So, frankly, what is the Leader of the Opposition's point? That the commissioner asked whether or not a body was a trade union? A body which was not a trade union was said not to be a trade union. What is his point? That the commissioner for incorporated associations in Western Australia satisfied himself or herself that this association acquitted WA law and then incorporated it? If he thinks the WA commissioner has acted improperly, he can take it up with the WA commissioner. If he thinks Ralph Blewitt signed a form he should not have, then get the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to get him on the phone or go and meet him in a coffee shop again and take up those matters. But do not come into this parliament and misread and misuse a transcript from 1995. (Time expired)



Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:43): Madam Speaker, I wish to ask a further supplementary question. How can the Prime Minister persist in claiming that she had nothing to do with the incorporation when the exit interview shows clearly that she argued the case to the corporate affairs commission for its incorporation? Her argument was what caused this association to be incorporated. (Time expired)


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:43): Once again the Leader of the Opposition has misled the parliament. What caused the association to be incorporated was that the commissioner for incorporated associations decided that it met the requirements of WA law and incorporated it. The Leader of the Opposition has also just misrepresented to the parliament the nature of the transcript of the Slater & Gordon interview. I would ask him to not keep misrepresenting words on a page. The transcript goes to dealing with an inquiry about whether this body was a trade union. Even after all these years, the best part of 20 years, neither the Leader of the Opposition nor the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, nobody, says that this body was a trade union. The Leader of the Opposition is misrepresenting the facts. The Leader of the Opposition needs to get to the central issue. Here he is, trying to fudge one way and then fudge the other. This morning he went out and accused me of a crime. Back it up or shut up.