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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13155

Prime Minister

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (15:05): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to her August statement as to why she did not open a file for the advice she gave for the incorporation of the association and to her 1995 statement that she sought no advice from anyone else at Slater & Gordon. Given that only the Prime Minister, Wilson and Blewitt were involved in setting up the AWU Workplace Reform Association, is the reason she did not open a file that it would have alerted her partners and the AWU to the existence of an unauthorised slush fund that received money for the benefit of Wilson and Blewitt?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:06): To the deputy leader's question, no, that is not the reason. I put the reason on the public record in the press conference that I did in August about how this was a matter that I was not intending to charge on, how it was routine to do small matters for unions without fees and I consequently did not open a file.

To the Deputy Leader of the Opposition I say that this is bordering on the embarrassing now to savour the questions. Let me assure her that I did not fake the moon landing, I was not responsible for the assassination of JFK, I did not shove Harold Holt on a Chinese submarine—just before she gets to those questions. Because where these conspiracy theories are getting us to is truly absurd and generally embarrassing, and all of it of course is a cover-up for the fact that this man has got not one idea for the nation's future.

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (15:07): Madam Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. I refer to the Prime Minister's August statement that after she helped set up the association she had no knowledge of its workings until allegations were raised in 1995. Who first raised those allegations with the Prime Minister—and when—in 1995? And what were those allegations about the workings of the association?

Mr Albanese: On a point of order: I think as Leader of the House I have been pretty tolerant of questions that go to the Prime Minister's responsibility. We now specifically have questions which use the date 1995—what did the Prime Minister know then, who told her that then?—when quite clearly, they cannot possibly be within the purview of the Prime Minister's responsibility. Indeed, it was well prior to her election to parliament.

The SPEAKER: I think the Leader of the House makes a fair point about the authority of the Prime Minister, but as the Prime Minister has addressed these issues in public, the House of Representatives Practice would state that the question is in order and I will give the call to the Prime Minister.

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:08): Thank you very much, Speaker. I dealt very extensively, at the press conference I held just before question time, with my state of knowledge in 1995 on these matters coming to the attention of the Slater & Gordon partnership. I refer the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to that transcript, held at a press conference—one of those incredibly secret things!