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
Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1826

Coalition Agreement

Mr FITZGIBBON (Hunter) (14:15): My question is to the Prime Minister, and I refer him to his previous answer on the question of the coalition agreement. Can the Prime Minister confirm that his government has spent almost three years and tens of thousands of taxpayers' money on lawyers to hide the secret coalition agreement? Why is the Prime Minister spending tens of thousands of taxpayers' money in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Federal Court to hide the inept deal the Prime Minister struck to get his job? Will he now commit to releasing the secret coalition agreement?

The SPEAKER: That question is out of order.

Mr Fitzgibbon interjecting

The SPEAKER: Yes, happy to hear from you.

Mr FITZGIBBON: I accept you couldn't hear it over—

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business.

Mr Burke: Mr Speaker, raising a point of order—

The SPEAKER: Why don't I give you an explanation first?

Mr Burke: It must be in order for us to ask about the cost of legal fees that the government has used. They can't be spending taxpayers' money and we're not allowed to ask about it.

The SPEAKER: I made the point about the coalition agreement. It did refer to the previous answer. I've said on numerous occasions: you just can't refer to a previous answer and ask a separate question. If you want to ask a question simply about legal costs, you need to frame it that way. The substance of that question—

Mr Fitzgibbon interjecting

The SPEAKER: No, look, the member for Hunter will resume his seat. He's not going to help by interrupting at this point. He's certainly not going to help himself—put it that way. I'm making it very clear: I'm not going to allow the Practice to be warped. It specifically refers to coalition agreements. I think I said: on page 554, it specifically refers to that. If you want to ask a question about legal costs, you need to ask that, and not ask it under the cover of a coalition agreement, which is specifically in the Practice as not being in order. You've got a choice: you can rephrase it, or we're going to move on.

Mr FITZGIBBON: My question is to the Prime Minister, and I ask him how much his government has spent with respect to the lawyers it has engaged in the matter of Joel Fitzgibbon v Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:17): I'll get back to the honourable member on that. I'm sure that, in the honourable member's electorate of Hunter, that's what everyone's talking about—that's right! It's the coalition agreement and the legal costs! There's no-one there talking about jobs, are they, Member for Hunter; no-one there talking about investment; no-one talking about infrastructure; no-one talking about national security! They're only talking about their out-of-touch federal member who doesn't want to focus on the real economic issues that secure their future. The member for Hunter is an embarrassment.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on both sides could cease interjecting.