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Monday, 18 June 2018
Page: 3063

Minister for Jobs and Innovation


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (14:53): My question is to the Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Senator Cash. I refer to the minister who, on 30 May, in relation to the Australian Federal Police investigation into leaks about an AFP raid, said:

… it is not an AFP investigation into me, it is not an investigation into my office.

Has the minister been interviewed by the Australian Federal Police as part of its investigation?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister for Jobs and Innovation) (14:53): I again thank Senator Cameron for what must be about the hundredth question, I think, in relation to this matter. Senator Cameron, as I have stated, everything that I have to say is clearly set out on the Hansard record. You also know that the question is not able to be answered because of the AFP investigation.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, on a point of order?

Senator Wong: I'm not sure if that is a PII claim or something. We're not asking about any matter that is canvassed in an interview; we're simply asking whether or not an interview has occurred.

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

Senator Wong: I have no idea why she's refusing to answer the question, Senator Macdonald. If you'd like to add to it, we're happy to give you leave to do so.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, the minister hadn't been speaking for 19 seconds. I consider that what she was saying was directly relevant to the question. I can't instruct the minister on how to answer a question. I call the minister.

Senator CASH: As I was saying, the only person with questions to answer in relation to this is actually Bill Shorten, because this is all about whether or not moneys provided by Bill Shorten when he was the head of the AWU were properly authorised.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, on a point of order.

Senator Wong: The question was: has the minister been interviewed by the AFP? I'm not surprised you want to sit down, Minister.

The PRESIDENT: The minister has concluded her answer. Senator Cameron, a supplementary question.










Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (14:55): Have any of the minister's current or former staff been interviewed by the Australian Federal Police as part of its investigation?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister for Jobs and Innovation) (14:55): This question has been asked and answered on a number of occasions now, both last year in Senate estimates and in question time and this year in Senate estimates and again in question time. This is all about whether or not moneys provided by the person who wants to be the Prime Minister of this nation—

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Cash, please resume your seat. Senator Cameron, on a point of order?

Senator Cameron: Yes, it's on relevance, Mr President. This is a simple question. It's clear. We're simply asking: have the minister's current or former staff been interviewed by the Australian Federal Police? The minister has not answered it. She is accountable to parliament. She is accountable to this place. She should answer the question.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron, I consider the minister to be answering the terms of your question at the beginning in the same terms she was before. I remind the minister of the terms of the question in the material she was just turning to.

Senator CASH: As I said, the only question that needs to be answered is: did Mr Shorten make a donation of $25,000 of AWU members' money—

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cash, please resume your seat. Senator Wong, on a point of order.

Senator Wong: The point of order is direct relevance. There was only one question asked as to whether or not any current or former staff have been interviewed by the AFP. That is the only question that is asked.

The PRESIDENT: I remind the minister of the specific nature of the question asked. The minister has concluded her answer. Senator Cameron, on a final supplementary question.









Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (14:56): Why isn't the minister prepared to be interviewed by the AFP as part of its investigation into the leaks about an AFP raid?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister for Jobs and Innovation) (14:57): Again, Senator Cameron, you have presupposed an answer to that question. I have answered this question numerous times. It is subject to an AFP investigation and, Senator Cameron, you would know that the proceedings are actually between the AWU and the Registered Organisations Commission on the basis that the AWU does not want to produce the relevant documentation.