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Wednesday, 7 March 2001
Page: 25279

Mr McCLELLAND (3:08 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, I refer you to the confirmation by the Australian Federal Police last week that there is an investigation under way into allegations of electoral rorting by former members of Minister Kelly's staff. Prime Minister, will you now apply the Mal Brough standard and stand Minister Kelly aside?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —My understanding—and I will check it of course—is that those allegations that are being investigated emanated directly from the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. In the case of Mal Brough—

Mr Crean —Have they been investigated?

Mr HOWARD —Hang on.

Mr SPEAKER —The Prime Minister has been asked a question and is responding to it, and he is entitled to be heard in silence.

Mr HOWARD —The allegations do not relate to the conduct of the minister. Matters relating to the minister have previously been dealt with by the Electoral Commission and by the Australian Federal Police. In the case of the Minister for Employment Services, he had not been sworn as a minister. He indicated to me that he did not—

Mr SPEAKER —The member for Grayndler is warned.

Mr HOWARD —and in those circumstances, and in the absence of allegations of substance that directly relate to the minister, I see no reason at all to stand her aside.