House debates

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Leader of the Opposition

3:19 pm

Photo of Julia GillardJulia Gillard (Lalor, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

I am more than happy to, Mr Speaker. Over there we have them carrying on as if offended by the allegation that they put together dirt files, as if offended by the allegation that they go after members of this parliament personally, when the evidence is there for all to see. Let us listen to the evidence. We have spent this week hearing about how a government staff member, a chief of staff to a minister, made one of the most repulsive allegations you can make against another human being—that is, to compare them to a Nazi, to someone who administered a concentration camp where thousands of people died. When we first raised that in this parliament, what action or what answer did we get from the Howard government? Not an answer about immediate action, not an answer about revulsion, not an answer about how they were disgusted by that remark—no. On the first occasion the minister walked to the dispatch box, he squirmed and said absolutely nothing.

Then, on the second occasion he walked to the dispatch box, he obviously thought better of it and sought to distance himself—ever so softly—from the remark. Of course, his chief of staff had been out that morning basically carrying on and justifying himself. It took absolutely hours for this matter to finally end up in an apology from the staff member involved and still, of course, no Howard government minister—not one of them—has taken any meaningful action about this matter.

Then on the matter that the Leader of the Opposition referred to, which dealt with me, what we know, on the public record, is that a journalist, Jason Koutsoukis, was invited down to a meeting in a ministerial suite for the purpose of being supplied with a file with my name on it which had been trawled through the press gallery as a dirt file. I am not saying, when we look at this, that we should be talking about the contents—I do not know what the contents are; the dirt file has not been supplied to me—but the suggestion—


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