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Monday, 26 May 2003
Page: 14862

Mr CREAN (2:35 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. I ask: in the 12 months prior to the Prime Minister recommending the appointment of Dr Hollingworth as Governor-General, what inquiries did the Prime Minister make—or were made on his behalf—of any person within the organisation of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane concerning Dr Hollingworth's activities and performance in his role as Archbishop of Brisbane and/or his suitability for appointment? I ask the Prime Minister: what was the outcome of those inquiries and what action did he take in relation to them?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —If I heard the Leader of the Opposition's question correctly, he said the 12 months prior to his appointment. There would have been no reason, a year before his appointment—

Mr Crean —The 12 months prior to; any time.

The SPEAKER —The Prime Minister has the call!

Mr HOWARD —I thought I would point out to the Leader of the Opposition that, self-evidently, I would not have started making inquiries, if I had been engaged in a formal vetting procedure, in relation to anybody that far out from an appointment. But I refer him to the answer I gave to his first question.

Mr Crean —You don't like this, do you?

Government members interjecting

The SPEAKER —Leader of the Opposition.

Mr Crean —What do you have to hide?

The SPEAKER —Leader of the Opposition!

The SPEAKER —The Leader of the Opposition deliberately chooses to defy the chair! He will be able to accompany the member for McEwen shortly.