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Wednesday, 16 September 2015
Page: 6985

Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:00): by leave—I rise in relation to the revised ministry list which has been tabled and lists Mr Malcolm Turnbull as Minister for Communications and Minister Fifield as representing him. I draw to the Senate's attention that, on 14 September, Mr Turnbull said:

Of course, I've also resigned—

Senator Scullion: Big issue!

Senator WONG: Unlike you, I think that who a minister is might be a relevant matter for the Senate.

Honourable senators interjecting—

The PRESIDENT: On my right! On both sides! Senator Wong, you have the call.

Senator WONG: Thank you. I will go back. On 14 September, Mr Turnbull, in the transcript of the press conference where he announced he was running for the leadership, made clear:

Of course, I've also resigned as Communications Minister.

I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate to perhaps explain the difference between Mr Turnbull's public statement of resignation—

A government senator: Is this a question?

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong sought leave and—

An opposition senator: No, you idiot, it is not! Listen!

The PRESIDENT: Order on my left!

Senator WONG: It is not unreasonable to know whom Minister Fifield is representing, given that the Prime Minister has said he has resigned from the portfolio, but he is on the list as being the communications minister. Who is the communications minister?

The PRESIDENT: That is a fair point, Senator Wong.