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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 14635

Pauline Hanson's One Nation

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:55): Before I ask my question, I'd like to associate the opposition with the remarks about the importance of mental health. There's plenty we disagree on but not the importance of tackling mental health. My question is to the Prime Minister. With an election due any day, a national unity on the rejection of racist hate speech never being more important than it is now, will the Prime Minister now direct every member of this government to put One Nation last?

The SPEAKER: I'm going to need to rule that question out of order because the Practice makes it very clear that the Prime Minister can only be asked questions on matters for which he's responsible, and that is not a responsibility of the Prime Minister. I'm prepared to hear from the Manager of Opposition Business on the subject.

Mr Burke: There are two quick points that I'd submit on that. The first is, as I've put previously, during the Howard government years, the question was frequently asked, and, secondly—

The SPEAKER: I don't agree with all precedencies.

Mr Burke: I respect that. Secondly, it has been the case where questions that were otherwise viewed by the Speaker as not being within standing orders, when the Prime Minister has wanted to answer them, have been allowed to proceed.

The SPEAKER: The subject matter of the question is not a responsibility of the Prime Minister. I'm afraid it's black and white. There are other occasions where prime ministers—

Mr Wood interjecting

The SPEAKER: Member for La Trobe, it's okay; we'll get to you. Indeed, there may be occasions where the Prime Minister or ministers have wanted to answer questions that are out of order, but I could give you many examples where, even though that was the case, I didn't allow it because we have the standing orders and we have the rules. So I'm going to stick with my ruling.