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Thursday, 21 August 2003
Page: 19230

Mr CREAN (3:14 PM) —My question is again to the Prime Minister. Isn't it the case that the Prime Minister is unable to take action against the Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government for his repeated breaches of the ministerial code of conduct and his repeated misleading of this House because to do so would expose the Prime Minister's double standards in relation to his own misleading over Manildra?


Mr Howard —Mr Speaker, I am very happy to take the question.

The SPEAKER —The Prime Minister might be happy to take the question, but I am not happy that a question that includes the term `double standards' should stand. The Leader of the Opposition is aware of the fact that imputations in questions should not stand. If the Leader of the Opposition cares to rephrase the question, I will allow it to stand.

Opposition members—He was okay with schizophrenia.

Mr CREAN —The Prime Minister's own actions—it seems strange that `schizophrenia' can stand and `double standards' cannot.

The SPEAKER —The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat or I will deal with him.

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —Was that a rephrased question?

The SPEAKER —That was the rephrased question.

Mr HOWARD —I will answer the first one; I did not catch the rephrased one. Let me say to the Leader of the Opposition: nothing has changed my view about the context in which I made those answers in September 2002. I do not believe that I misled the House. In the time that I have been in this place I have always set out to be truthful and candid with this parliament. As to the position of the minister for regional services, I have already indicated my view of the wisdom of the action that he took, but he has endeavoured to cover the matters in a detailed answer to a question. I indicated to the House yesterday that in the material I had studied I was unpersuaded that the circumstances warranted my withdrawing his commission, and thus far I have not heard or seen anything to alter that provisional view.

Mr Crean —I seek leave to move a motion of censure against the government.

Leave not granted.