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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 2522

Gillard Government

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:37): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister confirm that she spoke to Bob Carr on Monday in relation to her ministry?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:38): As I said yesterday, I have had discussions with a range of people. I believe that it is appropriate for me as Prime Minister to have discussions with people about having the best possible team. I have got a great team, but when we are seeking to add to the team of course you have a range of conversations. If the Leader of the Opposition is so interested, yes, I did have a conversation with Bob Carr, as I had a conversation with a number of other people.

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:39): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. It follows from the answer the Prime Minister has just given. I remind her of her statement yesterday: 'The story that is on the front page of the Australian today is completely untrue.' Does the Prime Minister stand by this statement? Will she repeat it in this parliament?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:39): Yes, I will repeat that statement and I will repeat the words that I said at the doorstop yesterday about this matter. I was asked about matters in the Australian. I said that they were untrue. I went on to say:

… let me make this very clear: of course my door is open to talk to people as I work my way through the reshuffle, but the decisions are mine and I’ll make them.

So that is the situation. What then happened in question time of course is that the Leader of the Opposition came in here and made a claim that he could not sustain in question time. He came in here and made a claim about the nature of the discussions I had had with Bob Carr. In stark contradiction to what the Leader of the Opposition came into this parliament and claimed yesterday, Bob Carr, the former Premier of New South Wales, said yesterday that while party officers had talked to him about the possibility of him filling the New South Wales Senate vacancy and being able to be considered for the office of foreign minister, Prime Minister Gillard had definitely not made any offer about the foreign affairs ministry, nor had anyone on her behalf—a stark contradiction to the many false claims, many stated false claims, by the Leader of the Opposition yesterday. I am surprised, given the Leader of the Opposition came in yesterday and said things that were false, that he would be continuing to pursue those falsehoods today.

The SPEAKER: I give the call to the honourable member for Blair.

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (14:41): Thank you, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Blair will resume his seat for a moment.

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker—

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business, this had better be something that is within the standing orders. The Manager of Opposition Business.

Mr Pyne: It is, Mr Speaker. Yesterday you required a member on this side of the House to remove the imputation that the Prime Minister was being dishonest. She just made the imputation that the Leader of the Opposition was making false claims yesterday, and we would ask you to ask her to withdraw it.

The SPEAKER: There is a difference between making an assertion that a claim is false and making an assertion that the person making the statement is deliberately making a false statement. I call the honourable member for Blair.