Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 29 May 2003
Page: 15473


Mr ABBOTT (Leader of the House) (3:03 PM) —I move:

That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the member for Reid being compelled to move a motion of censure on the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs—

Honourable members interjecting


The SPEAKER —Order! The minister will resume his seat. The minister, particularly as Leader of the House, is entitled to be heard in silence. He has the call.



The SPEAKER —The member for Wills is warned!


Mr ABBOTT —I move:

That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the member for Reid being compelled to move a motion of censure on the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs in place of the innuendo and imputation he is attempting to make by means of questions without notice.

I am moving the motion in this way because the conduct of the member for Reid, supported by the Leader of the Opposition and others opposite, has demeaned this parliament. Last night the Leader of the Opposition made a speech calling yet again for higher parliamentary standards, and today he comes into the parliament on a disgusting fishing expedition—a fishing expedition for which he has produced not a shred or a scrap of hard evidence. Members opposite are entitled to ask questions seeking factual information. What they are not entitled to do is to come into this parliament and smear and traduce the reputation of a decent and honourable member of this parliament, a decent and honourable minister of the Crown.

What has been alleged over the last two days by the member for Reid is that the minister for immigration rejected representations; then, after money was paid, that he changed his view on those representations. That is an absolutely disgraceful allegation, and such an allegation should never be made without hard evidence, of which the member for Reid has not produced a single scrap. I have to say that this kind of disgusting behaviour, this kind of travesty of behaviour, is typical of the Leader of the Opposition—a Leader of the Opposition who acts like a junkyard dog in this parliament and then pretends to be a choirboy.


The SPEAKER —The minister will resume his seat. The member for Werriwa will resume his seat. The minister will withdraw that comment.


Mr ABBOTT —Mr Speaker, I withdraw and I apologise. The Leader of the Opposition's problem—


Mr Latham —Mr Speaker, on a point of order: on the question of relevance, there is nothing in the suspension motion that is about the Leader of the Opposition—


The SPEAKER —The member for Werriwa will resume his seat. The minister has the call. By any standard, the minister was being relevant. He had in fact linked the remarks between the Leader of the Opposition and the member for Reid. It is not a question of whether I like it or not. He has withdrawn. He has the call.


Mr ABBOTT —There is only one reason why the member for Reid is persisting with this line of gutter tactics. There is only one reason why the member for Reid and members opposite are floundering like rats in a sewer of their own making. There is only one reason for this.


Mr Martin Ferguson —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I find the remarks of the Leader of the House most offensive and un-Australian, and I ask that he withdraw.


The SPEAKER —The member for Batman is aware that, undesirable though the remarks are, the requirement for withdrawal is that the remarks had been directed to an individual.


Mr ABBOTT —Mr Speaker, if it would assist you and assist the House, I am happy to withdraw the comments. The fact is that this Leader of the Opposition has put the member for Reid up to this—this Leader of the Opposition assisted by the management team. What this Leader of the Opposition is on about is a grubby fishing expedition designed to traduce the reputation of the minister.


Mr Laurie Ferguson —Mr Speaker, I take the censure motion.


The SPEAKER —The member for Reid will resume his seat. The minister has the call.


Mr ABBOTT —Finally, it seems, the member for Reid is prepared to move a censure motion. Why didn't he come in here and do it yesterday rather traduce the forms of this House, rubbish the reputation of this minister and bring the parliament into disrespect by abusing all the proper standards that ought to be upheld in this place? The member for Reid, in cahoots with the Leader of the Opposition, has unfairly and dishonestly smeared the reputation of the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. He should not be able to get away with it. He has demonstrated nothing, and it is about time for him to put up or shut up.

Question agreed to.