House debates

Thursday, 1 November 2012

3:12 pm

Photo of Christopher PyneChristopher Pyne (Sturt, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training) Share this | | Hansard source

I would also like to raise another breach of privilege relating to a contempt of the parliament. The member for Eden-Monaro, in a speech on Tuesday, 30 October 2012, told a story in the Federation Chamber concerning Australia's victory in its campaign last month for a seat on the UN Security Council. In that speech he recounted a story of meeting Alexander Downer at the DFAT building and Alexander Downer making a statement. The difficulty with the member for Eden-Monaro's statement is that the then foreign minister was in India at the time when he was supposed to be seeing the member for Eden-Monaro in the cafeteria at DFAT.

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the House) Share this | | Hansard source

Madam Speaker, on a point of order. Has the member for Eden-Monaro been notified that this issue would be raised? That is normal practice; it is common decency.

Photo of Ms Anna BurkeMs Anna Burke (Chisholm, Deputy-Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The Manager of Opposition Business is seeking to raise a matter of privilege—

Photo of Christopher PyneChristopher Pyne (Sturt, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training) Share this | | Hansard source

I refer it to you, Madam Speaker, so you can deliberate on whether it is a prima facie case of breach of privilege. And of course because it is question time I had assumed that the member for Eden-Monaro would still be in the chamber at 3.10; that is why I did not raise it with him beforehand. Madam Speaker, the member for Eden-Monaro made this speech this week in which he told an entirely false story about the then Minister for Foreign Affairs making an entirely false statement to him in the cafeteria at DFAT after Australia had lost its first campaign to win a seat on the UN Security Council. The evidence that this statement is false is that, in fact, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs was in India on the date when he was supposed to be seeing the member for Eden-Monaro at DFAT. That is a very serious breach of privilege and the member for Eden-Monaro has form on making these kinds of matters up.

Mr Albanese interjecting

You cannot be in contempt of the parliament by making up stories.

Photo of Ms Anna BurkeMs Anna Burke (Chisholm, Deputy-Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Manager of Opposition Business, have you concluded your statement?

Photo of Christopher PyneChristopher Pyne (Sturt, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training) Share this | | Hansard source

I table the speech by the member for Eden-Monaro. I also table the speech that the—

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the House) Share this | | Hansard source

Madam Speaker, on a point of order: the Manager of Opposition Business has raised a serious charge against the member for Eden-Monaro. He stated that this has occurred in the past. There is no evidence of that being the case. He has not had the courtesy to even notify the member for Eden-Monaro that this is the case.

Photo of Ms Anna BurkeMs Anna Burke (Chisholm, Deputy-Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The Manager of Opposition Business will withdraw that statement.

Photo of Christopher PyneChristopher Pyne (Sturt, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training) Share this | | Hansard source

I withdraw that statement, and I am about to conclude, if the Leader of the House would let me conclude. I also seek to table the speech that the Minister for Foreign Affairs gave in India on the day that he was supposed to be seeing the member for Eden-Monaro in the cafeteria at DFAT. In fact, he was speaking in New Delhi. I table the speech.

Government members interjecting

Photo of Ms Anna BurkeMs Anna Burke (Chisholm, Deputy-Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is not required to refer a matter of privilege.