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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4322

Member for Dobell

Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP (Mackellar) (15:03): My question is to the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister recall her statement:

… question time is supposed to be one of our key accountability mechanisms. If there is a big scandal or a corruption allegation, you are supposed to be able to get to the matter in question time …

If the Prime Minister still believes in those principles, will she detail what events occurred between now and when parliament last met that caused her to accept the member for Dobell's offer to suspend himself from the caucus?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:03): I certainly do recall that statement and I endorse that statement. It requires a competent opposition that can get their questions in order, but in a parliament where we had a competent opposition, that would be exactly how question time worked. In this parliament where we have an opposition that cannot sustain a debate on things like the budget then we get these kinds of questions.

In answer to the member's question, I detailed at the press conference that I conducted on a Sunday all the details about my discussions with the member for Dobell which led to him now sitting on the crossbenches. Those details are available and I will send the member the transcript.