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Wednesday, 16 October 1996
Page: 4275

Senator FAULKNER —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. I refer Senator Hill to the Guide on key elements of ministerial responsibility, Prime Minister, Canberra, April 1996 and I ask: did the Prime Minister write this Guide on key elements of ministerial responsibility ; if he did not write it, who did: or did he just sign it off when someone shoved it under his nose?

Senator HILL —That is perhaps the silliest question we have had all week if you think the Prime Minister sat down in his study one night with pen and paper and started from clause one. The important thing is that the document is published under the Prime Minister's name. The Prime Minister stands by it.

Senator Faulkner —Who wrote it?

Senator HILL —You would know that. It is published under the Prime Minister's name.

Senator Faulkner —Who wrote this?

The PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Faulkner!

Senator HILL —This is a document under the Prime Minister's name by which the Prime Minister stands.

Senator FAULKNER —Madam President, I ask a supplementary question. Given that there is not a skerrick of evidence that the Prime Minister has ever read this document, I ask the minister: did he ever read the document or just the cover?

Senator HILL —How profound! This is a prime ministerial document, published under his name and by which he stands. Madam President, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper .