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Thursday, 7 December 2017
Page: 10078

Minister for Employment


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (14:45): My question is to the Minister for Employment, Senator Cash. The AFP has provided advice:

The AFP has commenced an investigation into the alleged unauthorised disclosure of information concerning recent search warrants executed in support of a Registered Organisations Commission investigation.

This morning the minister said, 'This is not an investigation into myself or my office.' If that is true, why is the minister refusing to provide copies of job advertisements in relation to a position in the minister's office prior to 29 October 2017?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (14:46): I thank Senator Cameron for the question. As I advised senators this morning in my statement, this has been canvassed now at four separate Senate estimates hearings. This is the 12th Senate question time I have had. I have addressed these questions and I have nothing further to answer.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cameron—

Senator Cameron: Mr President, I was raising a point of order.

The PRESIDENT: I think the minister has concluded her answer, so you have the opportunity for a supplementary question, Senator Cameron.

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! So I can hear Senator Cameron, please.






Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (14:47): Behave yourselves! Can the minister confirm the Prime Minister's office is under investigation by the Australian Federal Police? If not, why is the minister refusing to provide details of communications between her office and the Prime Minister's office?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (14:47): Again, as I said this morning and as I've said several times in estimates, the mere fact that Senator Cameron alleges something—and it doesn't matter how many times he alleges it—does not make it true. The Prime Minister's office is not under investigation. The basis of the investigation is as set out in the AFP's advice.

The PRESIDENT: A final supplementary question, Senator Cameron.



Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (14:48): Given the minister had to resort to Senator Macdonald as the only coalition senator to speak in her defence, isn't it clear that the minister has even lost the confidence of her own coalition colleagues?

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order!

Senator Wong interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Wong! I will call the minister when there's silence.

Senator Wong interjecting

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald and Senator Wong, if we'd like to hear from the minister, we should cease interjecting.





Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (14:49): The answer to Senator Cameron's question is clearly no. In relation to Senator Macdonald, I am sure those on this side of the chamber would agree that he is a great member of the coalition. He makes an outstanding contribution. I have to say, I listened to him this morning outline how, as soon as Senator Cameron got to his seat, those on the other side literally fled the chamber. Senator Cameron, I have to say, if I were you, I'd be looking behind my back just to see who's not smiling.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator O'Sullivan, you have the call.