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Tuesday, 24 October 2017
Page: 11751

Australian Federal Police


Ms O'NEIL (Hotham) (14:50): My question is to the Prime Minister. Today the Minister for Justice said the government has 'never been more effective in the fight against drugs', but earlier in estimates AFP Commissioner Colvin said the AFP is having to look at its anti-narcotics work and 'our organised crime work' to make up the government's $184 million cut to the Australian Federal Police. Prime Minister, who is right: you or the Australian Federal Police commissioner?

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Braddon and the member for McEwen will cease interjecting, and I think the member for Cowan was in there yet again.



Mr KEENAN (StirlingMinister for Justice and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism) (14:51): Well, don't verbal a respected public servant. Don't walk into this place and try and make out that he said something that he didn't. It is absolute nonsense to say that we have cut the Australian Federal Police's budget by $184 million. It's complete nonsense. As I said at the start of question time, either you don't understand it or you're wilfully misleading.

Ms O'Neil interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Hotham will cease interjecting. She's not in her seat. She's asked her question. She will cease interjecting.

Mr KEENAN: I'm very happy to run through the record and compare and contrast our record in government with your record when you were in government for six years, which saw our law enforcement not given the support and the resources that, quite frankly, they deserve. We have invested, since 2013, $1½ billion in our national security and counterterrorism operations; $128 million to fund the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce, which are very difficult crimes to investigate, and we've got specialist capability in there with this investment to do it; $116 million in the National Anti-Gangs Squad; $25 million to expand the AFP's National Forensic Rapid Lab capability; $21 million to extend the trade union royal commission task force—something, of course, that we know that those opposite don't support; and $15 million for the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre. On top of these resources that we've given to our agencies, what is also very important is that we've given them the powers to do their job.

If the Australian Labor Party are so worried about fighting crime, why don't they join us in helping to lock up paedophiles? Why don't they support what we want to do to lock up paedophiles?

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on both sides!

Mr KEENAN: Why don't they support us in wanting to lock up gun runners? And why is it that they continue to support the criminal organisations of the CFMEU? I'm just stating the facts, Mr Speaker. It's plainly the facts.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! I'm going to hear the Manager of Opposition Business's point of order without interruption.

Mr Burke: Mr Speaker, I refer to pages 516 and 517 of Practice in asking for that comment to be withdrawn.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will cease interjecting. I'm going to hear from the Manager of Opposition Business and then I'll hear from the Leader of the House. I don't need to hear from him during the Manager of Opposition Business's point of order.

Mr Burke: Practice at 516 and 517 specifically refers to two points. Firstly, a comment does not need to be levelled against an individual member; it can be levelled generally to be offensive. Secondly, language of 'a nature likely to create disorder' is included, as well as words that are generally considered unparliamentary. Specifically, criminal offences such as sedition, treason, support for corruption and deliberate dishonesty are referred to as being unparliamentary terms. Anything that associates members of parliament with in some way approving of paedophiles—

Government members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on my right will cease interjecting.

Mr Burke: Anything that associates members of parliament with in some way approving of paedophiles in terms of directly saying they don't want them to be locked up is an extraordinary claim. I would draw members' attention to quotes from Senate estimates today that were not used by the opposition. This sort of language is going to have an impact on the chamber, and both sides of politics should be above it.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House on the point of order.

Mr Pyne: The Manager of Opposition Business is clearly worked up about this matter. But can I just point out that what the—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will pause for a second. I think I have made it clear to the House that I'm considering the matter. I have heard from the Manager of Opposition Business largely in silence but I admonished those on my right during his interaction. I think those sitting behind the Manager of Opposition Business might just reflect on whether they want me to consider this matter without being interrupted continually. The Leader of the House has the call.

Mr Pyne: Thank you, Mr Speaker. What the Minister for Justice in his statement was referring to, which is well understood by the entire chamber, is that the government had legislation before the House to introduce minimum mandatory sentences for people who have been convicted of sentences to do with paedophilia and gun smuggling, and the Labor Party has indicated they will not support that. It is, therefore, a statement of fact; it is not an insult—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on my left!

Mr Pyne: It is not an insult to the opposition and it wouldn't have been meant as an insult to the opposition. It is a juxtaposing of this government's record on tough sentences in things like drug smuggling and paedophilia—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will now resume his seat. I'm going to rule on this in a second. The member for Isaacs is warned. How as Deputy Manager of Opposition Business he thought that would be helpful when I was trying to hear the Leader of the House is absolutely beyond me—and if he wasn't in the position he is in he'd be out of the chamber. I have listened very carefully to the Leader of the Opposition. I listened carefully the other day to the Minister for Justice. The Leader of the House—and I ask for the forbearance of all members of the House while I complete my remarks—is quite right in saying that that is not what the Minister for Justice said. He didn't refer to any legislation. He did make a very specific statement.

On the Manager of Opposition Business's point of order, I'm very familiar with the Practice and I'm very familiar with the pages. I spend a lot of time reading the Practice. And he's right when he says that offensive remarks directed at individuals have been asked to be withdrawn regularly. As far back as Speaker Snedden there have been occasions where remarks to a group have been asked to be withdrawn as well. Can I say on the history of all that that it does cut both ways; you could pick what you want to out of all of those precedents. But I have reflected on what the minister said. He didn't say what the Leader of the House said. In fact, if he had framed it that way, whilst I wouldn't have approved, as I said the other day, that would have been a different matter. But in terms of what I heard I'm going to ask the minister to withdraw that and continue on with his answer.

Mr KEENAN: I withdraw. I'm sorry that the facts are such a deep inconvenience.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Minister for Justice will resume his seat. The member for Moore.