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Thursday, 1 August 2019
Page: 1839

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction


Mr BUTLER (Hindmarsh) (15:00): My question is again to the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. I refer to the minister's previous answer in relation to his disclosure. Why, in his latest statement of members' interests, did the minister disclose Gufee's interest in the Maclaughlin River Pastoral company but not Jam Land?

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members will cease interjecting. I call the Leader of the House.

Mr Porter: Again, the second part of that question is clearly with respect to matters that are outside the minister's portfolio responsibilities. It's an effort to link back a very, very straight answer, which was that the minister has disclosed his interests in accordance with the rules—to try and create a linkage—to matters that are not within his responsibilities.

The minister's answer that he disclosed in accordance with the rules is simply to state that he disclosed his trusts and nominee companies in exactly the same way that all the members opposite do and that everyone else over here does—and, indeed, like the one that I'm looking at right now, which is not the minister's.

Mr Dreyfus interjecting

The SPEAKER: Member for Isaacs, my left ear is getting injured by you. I might take responsibility for seating arrangements if this continues. I'm going to hear from the Manager of Opposition Business. I have the problem I forecast last time, with part of the question being clearly out of order, but I'll still hear from the Manager of Opposition Business in case he has come up with something miraculous.

Mr Burke: Mr Speaker, on your previous ruling, where you said that we were allowed to refer to and question a statement that has been made in the House: this question refers very specifically to a statement that the minister has repeatedly made in the House concerning his disclosures, and then challenges it very specifically by referring to the exact disclosure he has referred to, where one company has been included and another company, which the same Gufee has invested in, is not mentioned.

The SPEAKER: I understand—

Mr Burke: There is no other way for us to test a statement made in the House other than to put forward evidence that we don't believe it's true.

The SPEAKER: Well, I say to the Manager of Opposition Business: none of that overrides the standing orders or the minister's responsibility. Whilst you're referring to the previous answer, the second part of the question refers to his responsibilities as a member of the House of Representatives, not as a minister, and the connection hasn't been made.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition just interjected something that wasn't in the question, so it might give you a hint. I'm going to go to the next question—

Mr Burke: Mr Speaker—

The SPEAKER: In deference to the Manager of Opposition Business.

Mr Burke: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The most important obligation of the obligations you referred to for ministers is to not mislead this House. We believe he has made a statement to this House that's not true, and that's what we want to test.

The SPEAKER: I say to the Manager of Opposition Business: I appreciate his efforts, but—

A government member interjecting

The SPEAKER: Whoever's interjecting on my right is not helping. The member for Goldstein looks guilty.

A government member interjecting

The SPEAKER: It wasn't? All right; I'm sorry. It was someone behind him. I'm just going to say to the Manager of Opposition Business, with respect: the point of order you made highlights my point, because that was not the question. The question wasn't whether he misled the House. That question wasn't asked. It asked about his individual responsibilities as a member of parliament.