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Monday, 10 September 2018
Page: 8389

Minister for Energy

Mr BUTLER (Port Adelaide) (14:47): My question is to the Minister for Energy. Can the minister confirm that the last time this House met he supported a Turnbull government on Monday, voted for a Dutton government on Tuesday, said he supported a Turnbull government again on Wednesday, called for a Dutton government again on Thursday and pledged loyalty to a Morrison government on Friday? Can the minister confirm that when he told the House he supported Malcolm Turnbull he had already decided to support someone else and was misleading parliament?

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House on a point of order?

Mr Pyne: The first reason this question should be ruled out of order is because accusing a minister of misleading the House can only be done by substantive motion, not in a question.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on my left! I want to hear the point of order. If members don't allow me to hear the point of order, I will simply eject them.

Mr Pyne: The second reason that this question should be ruled out of order is that it is about matters to do with the parliamentary party. Traditionally, of course, those matters have not been within the ministerial responsibility of members, and therefore they should not be questioned about them.

The SPEAKER: I'll rule on the point of order. I disagree with the Leader of the House on the term 'misleading'. The term 'deliberately misleading' is the trigger point that he is referring to. There are many instances where the word 'misleading' has been used in questions and indeed in answers by ministers. Referring to the minister's previous answer is obviously the substantive point, but it's not the substantive part of that question. Whilst it was there, it was the last line. I've said before I'm not going to allow a whole range of material as commentary in the 30 seconds and just bolt on at the very end, in the last instants, the only part of the question that is in order. On that basis I'm going to rule the question out of order, not on the basis the Leader of the House said.