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Thursday, 25 June 2009
Page: 7237

Mr BURKE —I have important responsibilities on the issue of animal welfare, and I am aware of potential threats to Jasper the cat, living at the Lodge. I do put the Leader of the Opposition on notice: if anything happens to Jasper the cat, questions will be asked.

Mr Turnbull —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I ask you to request the minister to withdraw that imputation. That was a grubby remark. I ask it to be withdrawn.

The SPEAKER —I am honestly, perhaps naively, not aware of what the aspect is that has brought offence.

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER —Order! If the Leader of the Opposition wants to further expand so as to assist me—on usual reading of it, I am honestly having difficulty.

Mr Abbott —Mr Speaker, on the point of order, I understand your predicament, but, given the minister’s waving around of a particular recent publication, it was quite clearly a smear directed at the Leader of the Opposition. It is offensive and it should be withdrawn, and I request that it be withdrawn.

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER —If people really want me to take action, if they would just wait a second. To assist the orderly carrying out of the further business of the House today, I ask the minister to consider withdrawing.

Mr Albanese —On the point of order, Mr Speaker, we have come into this House, not just today but this week, to debate issues. The opposition have engaged in a grubby, opportunistic campaign all week. Not one question on policy, imputations in every single question that they have asked for four days—

The SPEAKER —Order! The Leader of the House will resume his seat. Whilst not a point of order, a point has been made, but I will ask the minister to consider withdrawing.

Mr BURKE —I withdraw.

Ms Julie Bishop interjecting

Mr Albanese —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I ask that that be withdrawn.

The SPEAKER —The offending member will withdraw.

Ms Julie Bishop —I withdraw.

Mr Rudd —Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.