Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 15 October 2015
Page: 7813

Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (15:06): Senator Xenophon, if you say you have given advance notice of this question to my office, I accept your word, of course, although that has not come to my attention.

You would be aware, of course, Senator Xenophon, that about four weeks ago there was a reconstruction of the government, with the election of Mr Turnbull as the leader of the parliamentary Liberal Party. And a new defence minister, Senator Payne, was sworn in on 21 September. Now, Senator Xenophon, you did not indicate in your question, or in the short speech that you just gave, the date on which those questions were placed on notice—nor would I expect you to. But it may very well be—

Senator Xenophon: It was 20 July.

Senator BRANDIS: It was 20 July—sorry, Senator Xenophon. If the questions were placed on notice on 20 July then, plainly, they were placed on notice during the incumbency of the previous defence minister, Mr Andrews. As I said, some four weeks and three days ago there was a transfer of responsibilities for that portfolio. But in any event I will examine the matter, as I ought to do under standing order 74, and get back to you.

The defence department does endeavour to respond to these questions promptly, and I am told that it will be responding to outstanding questions as soon as practicable. Of course, Senator Payne has been away all week at AUSMIN, as you know. These answers have to be cleared by the minister, and Senator Payne has not been available this week to do so.

Given the level of detail and complexity involved in your questions, Senator Xenophon, I note finally that Senate estimates is an appropriate forum—probably the more appropriate forum—to raise these matters, and that you will have the chance to do that next week. I would also like to point out that all portfolio responses to Senate estimates questions taken on notice have been lodged.