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, 26 November 2009
Page: 13056


Ms LEY (2:37 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. I refer the minister to the government’s repeated refusal to answer questions about the special deal that enticed 78 asylum seekers from the Oceanic Viking and to the notice of motion return to order in the other place—


The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Farrer will resume her seat. The Leader of the House on a point of order.


Mr Albanese —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order relating to argument.


Fran Bailey interjecting


The SPEAKER —I say to the member for McEwen that it was a good try. There needs to be a reminder about the extent to which there is argument in questions. I did indicate earlier this week or last week that I have been allowing degrees of argument in questions, but I must say, not necessarily, particularly on this one. It is a growing trend when there is excessive argument that is not assisting the way in which people perceive that the question should be responded to. I think that that is the balance.


Mr Secker interjecting


The SPEAKER —The member for Barker can give the commentary but I am giving the response to the point of order. I think that he should know that sometimes in the chair it is not easy to see things in black and white.


Mr Anthony Smith interjecting


The SPEAKER —The member for Casey, if he kept quiet, would be helping even more. On this occasion I do not find in favour of the Leader of the House, but I caution those that put together the questions that they should not overly place argument as preamble to their questions and they should do it with much greater care. If it is substance and response to that substance that they want, they should avoid that. The member for Farrer.


Ms LEY —Thank you, Mr Speaker, I shall continue with the question to the Minister for Home Affairs. I refer to the notice of motion return to order in the other place requesting the tabling of documents relating to the details of that special deal. Why did the government defeat the motion to table documents on the Oceanic Viking special deal?


The SPEAKER —Order! I am not sure that the Minister for Home Affairs can be held responsible for a decision of the Senate. The member for Sturt.


Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The reason the question to the Minister for Home Affairs is in order is that he has carriage of the Oceanic Viking vessel, he is part of the government, therefore we assume he was part of the decision to not allow the tabling of documents in relation to the special deal.


The SPEAKER —If the question asked for an attitude to explain the position of the government about issues, that is in order, but I am not sure that a minister can be held responsible for and be questioned about a decision of the Senate. I will allow the member for Farrer, on a third occasion, to modify the question.


Ms LEY —Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I once again question the Minister for Home Affairs. Will the minister now question the government’s decision not to table documentation or answer questions on the special deal for the Oceanic Viking?


Mr Albanese —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The question was out of order.


The SPEAKER —Whilst the redrafting—just as I do not want to mark answers, I am not going to mark questions. I am being very generous because it is the end of the year and I will allow the question. Even though that was not a very precise redraft, given my command of English, I could not judge exact precision. The Minister for Home Affairs is actually keen to respond. That is not a deciding factor in the way in which I adjudicate but he has been out of the barrier very quickly. The Minister for Home Affairs has the call.


Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR (Minister for Home Affairs) —Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. No.