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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13151

Prime Minister

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:51): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the Prime Minister's answer to my last question. Didn't the Western Australian Commissioner for Corporate Affairs in fact raise concerns about this proposed association prior to its incorporation? Will the Prime Minister confirm that, as a partner of Slater & Gordon, she wrote to the commissioner in 1992 vouching that the association complied with the legal requirements of the Associations Incorporation Act, even though she knew it did not?

The SPEAKER: I think the last part of the question may have been out of order.

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:52): For those who are normal, are engaged in worrying about jobs, health and education and have not followed the minutiae of this matter, let me just explain for their edification. The claim that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has now made is a claim that appeared in the Age. I think the name of the journalist who made that claim is Mark Baker. The correspondence he refers to has never been produced, so the claim has been made but no correspondence has ever been produced.

What I can say to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is what I have said in answer to her earlier questions. I provided legal advice about the incorporation of the association. Then, of course, the association is only incorporated if the relevant authority, the registrar, is satisfied that the normal legislative needs and details have been satisfied. Clearly, the registrar must have been so satisfied, or they would not have incorporated the association. If the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has formed the view—

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I raise a point of order. The Prime Minister has said that no letter has been produced, but she was asked whether she confirmed if it was true or not, and she must know that from her own knowledge.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much, Speaker. I was just indicating that it is clear what my role was. I provided legal advice. It is also clear what the registrar's role was. It is the registrar that makes the judgement about whether or not the relevant legislation has been complied with. If the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has formed the view that this association ought not to have been incorporated, then that is a matter she should take up with the registrar in Western Australia—although, given that we are talking about the best part of 20 years ago, I think it is highly unlikely that we are talking about the same individual. But that is a matter for the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to pursue in Western Australia with the registrar.