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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1824

Coalition Agreement

Ms PLIBERSEK (SydneyDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:07): My question is to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware that, when asked why the secret coalition agreement should not be made public, the Deputy Leader of the Nationals said yesterday:

The Governor-General is across it. That's all that we need to worry about.

Has this government provided a copy of the secret coalition agreement to the Governor-General—yes or no?

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume his seat. I can see that he wants to answer the question, but I can't see how that is in order. Practicemakes very specific reference to such matters. I will now hear from the Manager of Opposition Business. Are you on page 554, are you?

Mr Burke: No; 561.

The SPEAKER: Righto; let's go.

Mr Burke: Page 561 deals directly with questions concerning the Governor-General. If the question itself only referred to the coalition agreement, under your previous rulings it would have been automatically out of order and we wouldn't have risen to ask it. This question goes to the relationship with the Governor-General and whether particular documents have been given to the Governor-General. The rules around those questions are very much that we must not—

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will cease interjecting.

Mr Burke: reflect on the Governor-General in those questions, and we have not.

The SPEAKER: You certainly haven't reflected on the Governor-General. Having listened to you, I am still going to make the point now—and it's only Monday, so I am lenient to begin with—that the first part of the question was not in order. I'm going to refer to my previous rulings that I will not assist in allowing questions that, in my view, are deliberately framed for the first part to be out of order and then with something tagged on the end that tries to bring them in order. The Prime Minister can refer to the latter part of the question.

Mr TURNBULL ( Wentworth Prime Minister ) ( 14:1 0 ): The Deputy Leader of the National Party, Senator McKenzie, in a magnificent interview on Insiders Sunday, underlined the enduring strength of our coalition with the National Party, and the contribution it is making right now to creating thousands of jobs—403,000 jobs in Australia last year. That was a great interview on the Insiders program and showed her real mettle. In terms of the question relating to the coalition agreement, it is an agreement between two political parties. It is an administrative agreement only. It has not been made public in the past. That has been the practice. The Governor-General does not have a copy of it. Senator McKenzie was referring to the letter that each leader of the National Party provides to the Governor-General to confirm that the government has the support of the National Party. That is always provided, and that is what she was referring to.