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Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Page: 14108

Government Procurement

Dr CHALMERS (Rankin) (14:23): My question is to the Prime Minister. Today it's been reported that the Australian Ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey, who has a $1 million shareholding in Helloworld, helped a Helloworld subsidiary lobby for the embassy's travel contract. How could it possibly be appropriate for Joe Hockey to use his official position as ambassador to help Helloworld win a government contract? Why does this Liberal government only ever look after itself and its mates at the top end of town?

Mr MORRISON (CookPrime Minister) (14:24): I'm advised that Mr Hockey declared his shareholding in Helloworld before the tender process for the Australian Embassy in Washington's travel services commenced—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will pause. Members on my left will cease interjecting. I think those interjecting behind the front bench may not realise that they're actually preventing their own frontbench from hearing the answer and me from hearing the answer. The Prime Minister has the call.

Mr MORRISON: The tender process commenced with a register for expressions of interest advertised in August 2018. Mr Hockey has had no role in the tender process. He has declared his business interests in accordance with DFAT guidelines. This is just another grubby attempt by the Labor Party to distract attention from one very simple thing.

Dr Aly interjecting

Mr MORRISON: They know they have made a very big mistake in showing up the weakness of their own leader by forcing him to back down—

Ms Plibersek interjecting

Mr Watts interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Cowan is warned, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is warned and, once again, so is the member for Gellibrand. The Prime Minister has the call.

Mr MORRISON: They know they made a very big mistake in showing up the weakness of their own leader by forcing him to back down and to come into this place and weaken Australia's border security arrangements. They can come in here and throw all the mud they like, but one thing that's known well outside the Canberra bubble is that, when it comes to border protection, you can't trust Labor. You cannot trust Labor, and I'll tell you why. It is because they are so divided on the issue of border protection. That is why they failed so badly in government; they could not agree on this issue from one day to the next—and that's why you can't trust Labor.