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Thursday, 26 October 2017
Page: 12198

Minister for Employment


Mr BURKE (WatsonManager of Opposition Business) (14:23): My question is to the Prime Minister. Does the Prime Minister expect Australians to believe that the media reported yesterday an allegation that the employment minister's office had leaked the raids? The employment minister then came to the Prime Minister and said that she herself had not personally leaked the raids. And the Prime Minister, with all his training as a cross-examiner, didn't think to ask if her office had leaked the raids, which was the only allegation that had been made? Did the Prime Minister, in fact, ask this question? Or had he already been advised it was safer not to ask?


Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:24): The member for Watson does his best at innuendo, but he's not a particularly talented cross-examiner. Here are the facts. The minister gave me the assurance I told the House about yesterday—that she'd not disclosed the matter to journalists before the raid. That was the assurance that she gave me. Subsequently, as honourable members know, her media adviser admitted his wrongful conduct and he's resigned. I understand why the Labor Party want to focus on the wrongful conduct of a ministerial staffer rather than on why $100,000 of AWU members' funds were given to an organisation that wants to put most of those members out of a job. That is the question. And they want to know why, when the Registered Organisations Commission asked for documentary information from the AWU, they weren't provided it. They want to know about that too. But what I think Australians will find very hard to understand—

Ms Butler interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Griffith will leave under 94(a).

The member for Griffith then left the chamber.

Mr TURNBULL: is why the opposition, at this time of economic challenges, at this time of high electricity prices, has now no interest in asking about the National Energy Guarantee, no interest in talking about measures that will improve employment and no interest in economic issues. They're only interested in one thing, and that is to protect union officials from transparency and accountability. And the law is catching up with those traditions of the trade union movement, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the employment minister, Senator Cash.

Mr Conroy interjecting

Mr Khalil interjecting

Mr Brian Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Shortland! And I remind the member for Wills and the member for Lyons that they've warned.