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Monday, 26 May 2003
Page: 14861

Mr CREAN (2:31 PM) —My question is again to the Prime Minister. It refers to his earlier answer, when he said he had made no checks in relation to his decision to appoint Dr Hollingworth as the Governor-General. Prime Minister, how does that reconcile with a statement that you made on 22 April in announcing the appointment of Dr Hollingworth, where you said in relation to that appointment:

... I sought appropriate counsel.

What counsel did you seek, and what was the advice that you obtained?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —It is a very interesting question. I will tell you what I did. Let me make it very clear: I accept full responsibility for the appointment. Under our system of government, in the end the appointment of the Governor-General is formally by the Queen but it is on the advice of the Australian Prime Minister. I do not run away from the fact that he was my recommendation to the Queen. I accept full responsibility for the appointment. I will not seek in any way to run away from that. Did I seek counsel? I did in fact discuss his appointment with four of my senior colleagues.

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER —There are a number of people on both sides of the House who have already been warned, the member for Bonython not among them.