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Tuesday, 24 June 2003
Page: 17290

Mr LAURIE FERGUSON (3:01 PM) —My question is directed to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. I refer to his willingness to provide extensive information regarding his broad use of ministerial intervention—such as first-time requests, 5,433 cases; repeat requests, about 385 cases—and my own personal success rate with regard to intervention. Will the minister now answer the specific question: in how many cases has Mr Karim Kisrwani had involvement with the minister and his office? Of those cases, how many visas did the minister grant?

Opposition members interjecting

Mr Abbott —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order under standing order 75. I heard a very offensive comment made about the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. It should be withdrawn.

The SPEAKER —The only thing of which the chair is certain is that any offensive remark did not come from the member from Batman, because I was engaged in a conversation with him at the time.

Mr Martin Ferguson —There are 146 suspects!

The SPEAKER —The member for Batman will not exercise licence. I merely indicated a factual statement to the House. I am not aware who made the statement. If an offensive statement was made, I require for it to be withdrawn.

Mr Abbott —If it would help you, the offensive statement came from the member for Wills.

The SPEAKER —I ask the member for Wills to withdraw the statement he made.

Mr Kelvin Thomson —If the Leader of the House is offended, I withdraw.

Mr RUDDOCK (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation) —I thank the honourable member for his question. I wrote to the honourable member and the shadow minister last week, and they put certain information to the House which was clearly at variance with the facts. I simply make the point that it is extraneous to immigration decision making in relation to intervention whether I have repeat requests or not. They are part and parcel of the system, in which people are entitled to put fresh information if they wish. I was simply making the point that I receive many such requests. I have accepted them from the member for Reid, and it would be inappropriate to think that I would not accept them in relation to others who put them to me.