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Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Page: 2313

Senate Vacancy

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:30): My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that Bob Carr was approached by her, or on her behalf, to fill the vacant Senate position for New South Wales and to become the foreign minister of Australia?

Mr Albanese: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: the question is out of order because it does not go to the duties of the Prime Minister. It is about a casual vacancy in the Senate.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business does not have the call. I ask the Leader of the House to repeat his point of order because he was drowned out.

Mr ALBANESE: The question goes to the filling of a Senate vacancy due to the resignation of Senator Arbib.

The SPEAKER: I would have ruled the question out of order but for the reference to the appointment of a foreign minister.

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:31): I have seen lots of speculation in today's newspapers and in other places about this matter and about the reshuffle in general. As I have said publicly beyond the chamber of this parliament, let me also say within the chamber in this parliament: I am not going to be speculating on the reshuffle. I will announce it and then everybody can see it and judge it as they see fit.

On the question of the speculation and how I will deal with the reshuffle, let me say very clearly that I will be dealing with the reshuffle because I want the best possible team to continue the government's policies and plans and the one thing in this parliament we never get a question of any substance about is visions for the future and how you go about realising them. The team I select will be a team capable of doing that. I know the Leader of the Opposition has an unhealthy kind of obsession with the so-called faceless men in the Labor Party. What he really should be obsessed about is the useless men sitting behind him.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: I remind honourable members that clapping is disorderly.

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:33): Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question to the Prime Minister. Now that Mr Carr has confirmed that he was offered the foreign ministership of Australia, would the Prime Minister please confirm that an approach was made to him regarding the foreign ministry by her or on her behalf?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:34): To the Leader of the Opposition I say: do not believe everything you read.