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Thursday, 16 February 2012
Page: 1659

Prime Minister

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:51): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to this statement by her head of communications, John McTernan:

The key is to … set out a defensible truth: one that you will not have to expand, modify or resile from.

With her defensible truth over the role of her office in the Australia Day riots crumbling, will she now answer the question put to her yesterday: if she has not viewed the text messages between Kim Sattler and Tony Hodges on Australia Day, how has she verified that her statements with respect to this matter are true?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:51): I refer the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to my last answer. The opposition wanted to make this a matter for consideration by the Australian Federal Police. Having done so, I would have thought, if they were serious about that, they would then let the Australian Federal Police work through these matters. At no stage, from the tenor of these questions, has the opposition really been serious about it, and I really do wonder what is the opposition's alibi for being completely not interested in the jobs of Australian workers or the employment data that came out today.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER: I am sure that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is quite competent to say that she has a supplementary question. She does not need the assistance of the Manager of Opposition Business.

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:52): Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. I refer the Prime Minister to her last answer. The Prime Minister made a statement about this matter on 28 January. If she had not viewed the text messages between Kim Sattler and Tony Hodges, how could she verify the truth of what she said on 28 January? The matter has not been answered.

Mr Albanese: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. In the conclusion to her question the Deputy Leader of the Opposition indicated by her own words that this is a repeat of the question that she asked and not a supplementary.

The SPEAKER: I will call the Prime Minister.

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:53): In the statement I made on that date I indicated that my office had made inquiries about this matter and then I presented the facts, as they were given to me, to the Australian public. I say to the opposition: after what has been the best part of two weeks of questioning on this matter—I seriously say to them—in circumstances where Mr Hodges made a grave error of judgment and no longer is in my employ, I do wonder what the opposition is on about when they are so fascinated by this and so completely lacking in interest in areas like employment of Australians, health care for Australians, the quality of schooling for Australians—

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

Ms GILLARD: and the building of the future economy. It does them no credit at all to believe that this parliament is all about smear and derision rather than building the future.