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Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Page: 1105

Australia Day Honours


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:59): My question is to the Prime Minister. Yesterday in question time, the Prime Minister said he was not obligated to consult his cabinet colleagues on his captain's pick to knight Prince Philip. While the Prime Minister believes that he was not obligated to tell his parliamentary colleagues, why did he not trust his followers enough to tell them about his decision for two whole months? Was it because he was worried about the stream of leaks coming from his government?

The SPEAKER: The first part of the question can stand. Just ignore the last part of the question. The Prime Minister has the call.



Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (15:00): Awards in the Order of Australia have never been subject to cabinet—never, ever. They were not subject to cabinet under Labor governments, they were not subject to cabinet under coalition governments. They have never been subject to cabinet. As a matter of fact, the Hawke government gave an AC—a companionship in the Order of Australia—to Prince Philip. Prince Philip got a companionship in the Order of Australia under a Labor government. Presumably, under the doctrine of the Leader of the Opposition that would have been discussed at cabinet and cabinet would have said, 'Yes, let's give it to Prince Philip.' I want to make it absolutely, crystal clear—

Mr Fitzgibbon interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Hunter is on short time.

Mr ABBOTT: I just want to make it crystal clear that normal procedures were followed and, as I have said time and time again, all awards in the Order of Australia will be the decision of the Council for the Order of Australia.