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Thursday, 26 November 2015
Page: 9123

Special Minister of State


Senator JACINTA COLLINS (Victoria) (14:10): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. Did the Prime Minister ask the Attorney-General for an account of his role in the James Ashby affair before he appointed him to the ministry?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:10): No, because I had no role in the James Ashby affair.


Senator JACINTA COLLINS (Victoria) (14:10): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Has the Prime Minister asked the Attorney-General to provide an account of his knowledge of the James Ashby affair to the Australian Federal Police to assist in the conduct of the ongoing investigation?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:10): No, because I have no knowledge beyond what I have read in the media of the James Ashby affairs.

Government senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order!



Senator JACINTA COLLINS (Victoria) (14:11): Very, very sensitive on this.

Senator Back interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Senator Back!

Senator JACINTA COLLINS: Keep going.

Senator Back interjecting

Senator JACINTA COLLINS: No, I am waiting for the President.

Senator Back interjecting

Senator JACINTA COLLINS: Would you like to replace him?

Government senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order on my right! Senator Collins, your final supplementary question.

Senator JACINTA COLLINS: Thank you, Mr President. Does the Prime Minister stand by the conduct of the Special Minister of State, the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Assistant Minister for Innovation and the Attorney-General in connection with the James Ashby affair?








Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:11): Let me address first the dishonest innuendo in the last part of your question. I have no knowledge of the James Ashby affair beyond what I have read in the media. I have never met Mr Ashby in my life and I have never had any communication with him at all. So I have no role whatsoever.

Senator Collins, in relation to those other ministers whom you mention, as I said in answer to your leader, Senator Wong, there is no reason to believe that there has been any inappropriate conduct by any of those ministers. Mr Brough made a statement in relation to these matters on 19 November and that statement is complete. There have been no criminal charges laid against Mr Brough. There is a police investigation underway and that police investigation should be allowed to run its course. (Time expired)