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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3770

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport

Mr FRYDENBERG (Kooyong) (15:10): Prime Minister, my question—

Mr Albanese: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. Under the standing orders, question time concludes at 3.10 pm each day.

The SPEAKER: It is within the competence of the Prime Minister to ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper. However, I had called the honourable member for Kooyong before the Prime Minister did that. The honourable member for Kooyong has the call.

Mr FRYDENBERG: My question is to the Prime Minister. Given that the Auditor-General has found that on 33 occasions ministers have failed to declare millions of dollars of grants to their own electorates, including the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, who has made three major grants to local councils in his electorate totalling more than $3 million without declarations, what action will you take to discipline the minister?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:11): In answer to the member for Kooyong's question, first, I draw his attention to what the ANAO actually found. The member for Kooyong had his first question ruled out of order because he in part sought to misrepresent that, and I would counsel him against that in this question as well. Second, I remind the member for Kooyong that this government has moved to introduce guidelines because of the conduct of the Howard government under regional rorts, causing the Auditor-General to author a report that used the word 'corrupt'. The member for Kooyong should understand that. The word 'corrupt' was used in that Auditor-General's report. We have responded to those kinds of findings about the conduct of the Howard government by making sure that there is a new system of transparency.

Mr Hartsuyker: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. The question was: how is the Prime Minister going to discipline the minister for infrastructure? It did not refer to a previous government.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister's answer is relevant.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. What we intend to do is act in accordance with the findings of the audit report. That is what the government will do. That is, of course, a different approach than has been taken in the past. We are a government that have introduced transparency guidelines because we were disgusted by the conduct of the Howard government. If the member for Kooyong is truly disturbed by such matters then I find it hard to explain how he can serve behind this front bench, given their conduct in the regional rorts affair—

The SPEAKER: Order! The Prime Minister will return to the specifics of the question.

Ms GILLARD: and the conduct of the Howard government generally.

Ms Gillard: Mr Speaker, with those words I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.

Mr Dutton: You're not a Prime Minister's bootlace.

Mr Albanese: Mr Speaker—

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will resume his seat. I believe the honourable member for Dickson made an inappropriate comment. Did the member for Dickson interject a moment ago? If he did, he would assist the House by withdrawing the imputation cast in the direction of the Prime Minister.

Mr Dutton: I am happy to assist, Mr Speaker, but I seek your direction. By saying that this person is not a Prime Minister's bootlace, is that unparliamentary? If so, I am happy to withdraw.

Ms Roxon interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Dickson has been saved by the Attorney- General. The member for Dickson will return to the dispatch box and will withdraw his statement without reservation.

Mr Dutton: I withdraw.

The SPEAKER: I now call the honourable Attorney-General to the dispatch box to withdraw what she said.

Ms Roxon: I withdraw, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER: I thank the Attorney-General.