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Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Page: 12808

Prime Minister


Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:37): My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister of her statement on 23 August that Ralph Blewitt personally provided the funds for the purchase of a Fitzroy property in 1993. I refer to a cheque, which I have a copy of, for over $67,000 from the AWU Workplace Reform Association made out to the Slater and Gordon trust account used to purchase that property. As the lawyer advising on the conveyance, does the Prime Minister stand by her statement that she did not know that the money came from the union slush fund that she had assisted in establishing?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:37): I stand by all of my statements on this matter. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition has referred to a number of documents. Let me refer her to an important quote made by the opposition leader yesterday: 'I will leave the nasty personal politics to the Labor Party. I'm going to focus every day on what matters to the Australian people.' Did the opposition leader endorse the asking of this question? My question is very relevant, given that statement yesterday.

Ms Julie Bishop: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I seek leave to table the cheque from the AWU Workplace Reform Association made out to the Slater and Gordon trust account from 18 March 1993.

Leave not granted.



Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:38): Madam Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. I refer to an affidavit, which I have a copy of, of Ian Cambridge, now at Fair Work Australia, in which he states: 'I am unable to understand how Slater and Gordon could have permitted the use of funds obviously taken from the union without obtaining proper authority from the union.' As a lawyer acting for the union and on the purchase of the property, how could the Prime Minister have been ignorant of the source of the funds?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:39): The Deputy Leader of the Opposition in her initial question asked me to stand by my public statements on this matter. What that should imply is that it has been canvassed and dealt with on the public record. I stand by my public statements, and I again ask: does the opposition leader endorse this strategy, given his words yesterday?


Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:39): Madam Speaker, I ask a further supplementary question. Given that none of the specific questions asked this week about the slush fund and the Slater and Gordon trust fund have been answered by the Prime Minister previously, how can she continue to assert that she has dealt with them before, as that is patently untrue?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:40): How can the opposition assert that it is focusing on the nation's interests and not pursuing nasty personal politics when it goes down this track?

Mr Laming: You are corrupt!

The SPEAKER: The individual will withdraw.

Mr Laming: I withdraw.

The SPEAKER: Further, the member for Bowman will leave the chamber under 94(a) and will count himself very, very lucky. The Prime Minister will resume her seat. I call the Manager of Opposition Business.

Mr Pyne: The Prime Minister made an offensive remark across the chamber to the Leader of the Opposition and I, and I ask that it be withdrawn.

The SPEAKER: Will the Prime Minister withdraw for the good of the House?

Ms Gillard: No. I did not make an offensive remark. What I said is that this is the strategy of the Leader of the Opposition and I hope that he is proud of it, given what it has led to in the House. I have dealt with these—

The SPEAKER: Prime Minister, what I asked is if you would withdraw for the good of the House, given the nature of the debate. If you could do that so that we can progress, I would appreciate it.

Ms Gillard: Certainly. I withdraw. The strategy of the Leader of the Opposition is offensive. It is in contrast to his remarks yesterday. I have dealt with these matters on the public record extensively, and no amount of bellowing by those who sit opposite changes that in any way. All this is a cover-up for the fact that they do not have and will never have a plan for the nation's future.

Ms Julie Bishop: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I find it offensive as a woman that the Prime Minister would suggest that I am being dictated to by somebody else. These are my questions. She is not answering them.

The SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat.

Mr Perrett interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Moreton is warned. I call the member for Wakefield.