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Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Page: 5225


Mr BRIGGS (Mayo) (17:04): An issue the opposition has been concerned with for some time has been the chaos and dysfunction at the heart of executive government in Australia. We have seen increasingly—and we have seen it again today with the member for Werriwa out there saying at a doorstop just—

Ms Macklin: On a point of order: this is consideration in detail about the appropriation bills. There are three ministers and one parliamentary secretary here. The opposition cannot even rustle up anybody serious, let alone a question.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

Mr BRIGGS: While the questions are not so serious, I wish the minister would just answer them. The member for Werriwa is out there saying, 'We are dead.' No wonder she is raising points of order. I raise a matter which I raised yesterday in a similar consideration in detail stage with the Minister for Human Services, and I ask the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs: in March this year—and I congratulate her on her promotion. She was promoted on the mass resignation day in March when there was a leadership challenge.

Ms Macklin interjecting

Mr BRIGGS: You were promoted before that, were you? I apologise, Minister. You have been in that position for a bit longer. In any event, yesterday we—

Ms Macklin interjecting

Mr BRIGGS: No, I was not. I was congratulating you on your promotion, Minister. There was no rudeness intended. The rudeness is in the chaos and dysfunction which your cabinet is overseeing. Yesterday we established in this committee and in estimates that the Minister for Human Services has not received a charter letter from the Prime Minister, which is a very usual practice in our system of government. When there was an adult government in charge, when the government was the Howard government, the normal practice was that ministers would always receive a charter letter outlining exactly their responsibilities. In any normal workplace an employee would receive a job description. It is, in effect, the job description from the Prime Minister to the minister—the operating instructions for that ministry. I ask the minister for community services: has she received her charter letter from the Prime Minister?