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Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Page: 6319

Dr SOUTHCOTT (2:43 PM) —Mr Speaker, my question is again to the Prime Minister. Given that the probity requirements in the communications protocol for the $4.9 billion tender, which involved 3,000 bids from over 400 organisations, specifically prohibits any discussions relating to the purchasing process, will the Prime Minister now advise the House what communications relating to the purchasing process took place between the former Minister for Employment Participation, his chief of staff, Mission Australia and any other tenderers during the probity period?

Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —I refer the honourable member to the answer to his earlier question. I would draw his specific attention to the points that I raised there, and if he has any further information to raise with the House then of course we will look at it. Can I just say to the honourable member: the government has a strong relationship with the community sector and with community sector organisations like Mission Australia, who do a first-class job. Secondly—

Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order in terms of relevance. The Prime Minister was asked a very specific question about whether he would advise the House of any potential breaches of the probity process involving the employment services contracts. We want to know whether he will come back and advise the House after the investigations he makes after question time today.

The SPEAKER —The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Prime Minister is responding to the question.

Mr RUDD —Again I refer the honourable member’s attention to the answers I gave to the two earlier questions. On the question of Mission Australia, can I say the government has a good relationship with Mission Australia. They do an excellent job in the community on jobs and on homelessness. We work with them all the time. I always find it passing strange when those opposite stand up at the dispatch box and make statements like this without any point of reflection on their own engagement in something to do with the dispensing of projects to various National Party electorates in previous times, which is the subject of two Auditor-General’s reports. I would suggest they reflect on that further.

Dr Southcott —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order—

The SPEAKER —The Prime Minister has concluded.

Mr Perrett —Go back, attack chihuaha!

The SPEAKER —The member fore Moreton will withdraw.

Mr Perrett —I withdraw, Mr Speaker.