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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 556

Asylum Seekers


Mr MARLES (Corio) (14:39): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. In the minister's previous answer, the minister has said that he first received information on Tuesday questioning the precise location of Mr Berati's death. So why did the minister not release his correction to the media until Saturday night at 8:44 pm?


Mr MORRISON (CookMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (14:39): Let me read to the opposition spokesperson exactly what I said on the Tuesday afternoon:

… I am not going to make assumptions until I have further information on that—

referring to the details of what had occurred to the deceased—

Where physically—

Mr Bowen interjecting

Mr MORRISON: No, listen!

Ms Plibersek interjecting

Mr MORRISON: Listen:

Where physically this took place based on the information I have received this afternoon, that is a matter where there are some conflicting reports.

A journalist then asked:

What are the conflicting reports?

And I said:

Well the reports are conflicting on where the individual might have been at the time.

That is the report I gave on the Tuesday afternoon, immediately reporting in the press conference that there were conflicting reports about the nature of that incident and where the individual might have been when those incidents occurred. Over the balance of the week I sought to have those conflicting reports resolved: firstly, by sending the deputy secretary and, secondly, by sending General Campbell. And when General Campbell had returned, and I had received further advice on the Saturday about these incidents, then I produced the information.

Mr Burke: What time on Saturday?

Mr MORRISON: Those opposite ask about what time—in particular, the Manager of Opposition Business. I ask the Manager of Opposition Business: how long did it take him after the Nauru processing centre burnt to the ground to announce—

Mr Burke interjecting

Mr MORRISON: Now you get up, don't you! I've got you to your feet now!

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. There are no end of opportunities in this House for political pointscoring—

The SPEAKER: What is the point of order?

Mr Burke: We are dealing with an issue where a man—

The SPEAKER: This is not a point of order; the manager will resume his seat! Resume your seat!

Mr MORRISON: I have been asked about what time, and I am simply making reference to the previous practice of past governments. I note that the Manager of Opposition Business, when he was minister for immigration, took a full week to front the Australian people to announce the review in relation to the Nauru processing centre that burnt down on his watch.

Mr Bowen: Why don't you answer it?

Mr MORRISON: It was a meltdown on your watch!

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

The SPEAKER: It had better be a point of order this time.

Mr Burke: It is on direct relevance. This cannot possibly be directly relevant to that question—

The SPEAKER: There is no point of order. The minister has concluded his answer.