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Thursday, 21 June 2018
Page: 3620

Minister for Jobs and Innovation


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (14:52): My question is to the Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Senator Cash. I refer to the minister who, on 30 May, said, in relation to the Australian Federal Police investigation into leaks about an AFP raid, 'It is not an investigation into me. It's not an investigation into my office'. Given that the minister was forced to admit that she had misled the Senate on five occasions, after her then media adviser confessed to having leaked information about an AFP raid—

The PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Cameron. I have Senator Cormann on his feet on a point of order.

Senator Cormann: Senator Cameron is misleading the chamber. Senator Cash at no point misled the Senate. What Senator Cash did was provide the information that was available to her at that time and she corrected the record at the earliest opportunity.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cormann, that is not a point of order; that is a matter for the minister to address in an answer. I call Senator Cameron to continue his question.

Senator CAMERON: Given that the minister was forced to admit that she had misled the Senate on five occasions after her then media adviser confessed to having leaked information about an AFP raid, how can she say it's not an investigation into her or her office?






Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister for Jobs and Innovation) (14:54): Senator Cameron, yet again all because you say something does not make it true. I have been consistent in my evidence. You will be aware that I gave answers based on the knowledge I had at the time, and when that knowledge changed I corrected the record. In relation to the actual issue, what those on the other side forget is this: the matter came about because the AWU are refusing to provide evidence—

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong on a point of order.

Senator Wong: The point of order is direct relevance. I know this minister just wants to throw mud in an attempt to get out of it. But the direct relevance is this: it was a question about a prior statement and a question as to the accuracy of the prior statement. How can she say it is not an investigation into her or her office? That was the only question.

Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting

Senator Wong: Thank you, Senator Macdonald; I'm always so grateful for your advice! The point of order is direct relevance. There is one question.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, you have reminded the minister of the question, so I do not need to. The minister's been reminded of the question and I call upon her to continue her answer.

Senator CASH: As I said, in relation to what this matter is actually about, it came about because the AWU are refusing to provide evidence that the donations made when Mr Shorten was national secretary were properly authorised. Those on the other side can throw as much mud as they like.

The PRESIDENT: I'll call Senator Cameron for a supplementary question.








Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (14:55): Why is it appropriate for the minister to make that statement but not say whether or not she had been interviewed by the AFP as part of its investigation? On whose advice did the minister decide it was appropriate to allege that the AFP's investigation is not into her or her office?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister for Jobs and Innovation) (14:56): Senator Cameron, you and I have done this dance on several occasions. The AFP itself has stated that it is not an investigation; it is an investigation into where information came from. At the heart of this matter, though, for those on the other side, this is all about the AWU refusing to provide documents.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong.

Senator Wong: I'm not sure whether the minister's finished or whether she doesn't want to respond to the question asked.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cash has concluded her answer. Senator Cameron, a final supplementary question.





Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (14:57): Has the minister been interviewed by the AFP as part of its investigation into the leaks about an Australian Federal Police raid?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister for Jobs and Innovation) (14:57): Again, I've answered this at estimates several times. Senator Cameron, you will be aware that the AFP Commissioner has claimed public interest immunity in relation to this, and it was accepted by the committee.

Senator Cameron interjecting

Senator CASH: Again, you can throw as much mud as you like, Senator Cameron, but the heart of this is all about the AWU refusing to provide documents that showed that donations made by Mr Shorten were properly authorised.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Wong, on a point of order.

Senator Wong: Yes, direct relevance—no preamble, one question: has the minister been interviewed by the AFP?

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cash has concluded her answer.

Senator Cameron interjecting

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Cameron! I will again insist: I've called numerous senators around the chamber to order while questions have been asked so I may hear them.