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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13149

Prime Minister

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:44): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to her statement today that she provided legal advice for the incorporation of the AWU Workplace Reform Association, and I refer to section 5 of the Associations Incorporation Act, which requires an association to have more than five members before it can be incorporated. Apart from Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt, who were the other members of this association?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:45): I think the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has now diverted off from any matters involving me and she is involved in a furious dispute with whoever was the registrar of incorporated associations in WA at the time.

Opposition members: You set it up!

Ms GILLARD: They are chanting, 'You set it up!'—and that is the point that you do not understand. Let me explain it to you, because here we are once again with smear. I remind the House—and I will take this opportunity, given we have taken an interjection about something that is factually wrong and is 100 per cent smear—of what we have had in this parliament. We have had the Deputy Leader of the Opposition ask questions before. On 1 November she claimed I set up a fund in 1992. That claim is false. I provided advice on the incorporation of an association under Western Australian law. On the same day, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition said I was involved and advising Ralph Blewitt in a defamation action in 1993. That claim is false. It is directly contradicted by the published defamation file, which shows that other lawyers at Slater & Gordon had responsibility for this matter. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has also described me in this parliament as the lawyer advising on the conveyance of a Fitzroy property. That statement is false. It is contradicted by the published file, a statement by the then partner in charge and a statement made by the firm itself. So, when we were last dealing with this matter in question time, in the space of two days the Deputy Leader of the Opposition misled the parliament three times. So, to those on the opposition front bench who are starting to interject, I would say: do not follow your leader and your deputy leader into this sleaze and smear and the making of false claims in this parliament. Three times the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has misled this parliament. That is a matter she ought to apologise to this parliament for and to the Australian people for.

Opposition members: Answer the question!

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will return to the question before the chair.

Ms GILLARD: On the deputy leader's question, I would remind the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that the entity that incorporates associations is the registrar under applicable law. It is the registrar that makes the decision as to whether or not—

Ms Julie Bishop interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has asked her question.

Ms GILLARD: the requirements of the legislation have been complied with. No amount of shouting changes that simple fact. It is exactly the same as if one were incorporating a company and it is the relevant company authorities that work out if the Companies Act has been complied with. So, if she has formed the view that this association ought not to have been incorporated, she needs to take that up with the registrar in Western Australia.