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Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Page: 11573


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:01): My question is to the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister continue to have full confidence in the Speaker? If not, what steps will she take to remove him from the speakership?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:01): I understand why the Leader of the Opposition has asked this question today. What would be on his mind—and he has made some public comments about this today—is the publication of some text messages from Mr Slipper, a number of them from before the time he was Speaker. The contents of these text messages are offensive. I find sexism offensive wherever it comes from. I do believe that sexism is always offensive. You would expect me, as the first woman Prime Minister of this country, to say that.

On matters involving the Speaker more generally: as the Leader of the Opposition would be aware, the material he is referring to is material from a court case where the judge at the moment has reserved his decision, so I do not believe that it is appropriate for this parliament canvas in a full way this material, which is in evidence in a case where the judge has reserved his decision.

Mr Abbott: I seek leave to move that, as provided for by section 35 of the Constitution, the Speaker be removed from office immediately.

Leave not granted.