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Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Page: 1093

Australian Human Rights Commission

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:16): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the Prime Minister's last answer, in which he said that the President of the Human Rights Commission had lost the confidence of the government. If that is the case, why were you willing to offer her another job?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:16): I simply repeat that I am not aware of what is being canvassed in Senate estimates and I am not aware of what might have been canvassed between the President of Human Rights Commission and officials. I simply am not aware.

Mr Bowen interjecting

The SPEAKER: Member for McMahon!

Mr ABBOTT: Members opposite truly believe by these questions that it is somehow right and acceptable to have an inquiry into children in immigration detention when the numbers are under 200, but it was somehow an evil political witch-hunt—these frauds, these hypocrites, think it was an evil political witch-hunt to have an inquiry into children in immigration detention when their policies resulted in hundreds and hundreds of deaths at sea, presumably including children dying at sea. But now it is somehow alright.

Obviously, we question the competence and the judgement of the President of the Human Rights Commission; she somehow thought, after discussions with ministers in the former government, that it was too political to have an inquiry—when this was a real problem.

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: Member for Wakefield!

Mr ABBOTT: Now that the problem is as it should be, now that it is dissipating, she has the inquiry—

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, on a point of order—

Mr ABBOTT: The Prime Minister will resume his seat.

Mr ABBOTT: I have concluded my answer.

The SPEAKER: I call the Leader of the House.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, under 91(f) of the standing orders, it is quite disorderly for the opposition to have a wall of noise every time the Prime Minister tries to answer a question. If they want an answer from the Prime Minister, they should give him the opportunity to answer the question. And I would dare to ask you to—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr Pyne: See, they are doing it now, Madam Speaker; they cannot help themselves. I would ask you to call them to order during the—

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will resume his seat. There is no point of order. I am going to give the call to the member for Indi, and I expect some silence so we can hear the question.