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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 9824

Special Minister of State


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (14:00): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. I refer to Senator Bernardi's assessment: 'In the end the appointment of ministers is always a captain's call.' Doesn't Mr Turnbull's refusal to stand Mr Brough aside demonstrate this captain has the same bad judgement as Mr Abbott?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:00): Senator Cameron, I have not seen Senator Bernardi's remarks. I follow Senator Bernardi's public contribution with much admiration. I think Senator Bernardi has many wise things to say about a range of issues, though I am bound to say that I do not always agree with everything Senator Bernardi says. I have not, on this occasion, seen those remarks, Senator Cameron, and you would not expect me to comment on remarks that I have not seen or read.


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (14:01): I have a supplementary question. I refer to LNP Senator Matt Canavan, who says that the future of his Queensland colleague Mr Brough is 'duly the responsibility of the Prime Minister'. When will the Prime Minister accept responsibility for his captain's call and stand Mr Brough aside? Or will he wait for more of his Liberal colleagues, like Mr Macfarlane, to jump ship before he takes the necessary action?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:02): Unlike the prior Labor government, this government works on the principle of ministerial responsibility. What that means is that every minister takes responsibility for every decision they make. In relation to Mr Brough, you know, Senator Cameron, because you have made much of this during question time and debate in this chamber this week, that there is currently a police investigation underway. Public denunciations do not prove guilt. No charges have been laid against Mr Brough. There is a police investigation underway, and I suggest we allow that investigation to take its course.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: On my left. We will not proceed till there is silence.

Government senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: On my right as well.




Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (14:03): I have a final supplementary question. I refer to media reports that the Prime Minister is leaving it up to Mr Brough to decide on whether to stay or go. Who will decide Mr Brough's fate: the Prime Minister or Mr Brough?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:03): As I said, there is a police investigation underway. Mr Brough has been charged with nothing. I suggest we allow that police investigation to take its course. As you know, Senator Cameron, ultimately, all ministers serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order on my left!