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Monday, 3 March 2014
Page: 1333

Mr MORRISON (CookMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (15:10): I wish to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER: Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr MORRISON: Most egregiously.

The SPEAKER: Please proceed.

Mr MORRISON: In an article on 2 March, Bianca Hall wrote:

… Immigration Minister Scott Morrison claiming Labor senator Stephen Conroy keeps showing ''how small a man he is' …

I have said many things about Senator Conroy; that he had undertaken a coward's sledge against General Campbell and other things, but I never said that. What I said—and I refer to the Hansard—was:

The Leader of the Opposition in his response to this motion today has demonstrated how small a man he is when the challenge is put to him.

I have another personal explanation, Madam Speaker, if I may?

The SPEAKER: You will keep this one much tighter.

Mr MORRISON: I will. Thank you. It was reported on the weekend, in the same publication by the same journalist, that my department had a team of 66 strong 'spin doctors'—their words. I can confirm that there are only 39.7 full-time equivalent staff employed in that area of my department. The number under the previous government when we came to office was 44.6.

Mr Husic: Why didn't you answer the query? That is not an explanation. He refused to answer the journalist's inquiries. You can't—

The SPEAKER: The member for Chifley is out of order.

Mr Husic: But spot on.

The SPEAKER: I call the Leader of the House.

Mr Pyne: He is very rude, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, assuming we are moving on—you have nothing else?

The SPEAKER: I call the Leader of the House, yes.