Tuesday, 27 November 2012
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the Prime Minister's statement yesterday and to the affidavit of Ian Cambridge that around $100,000 from the AWU slush fund was used to purchase the house in Fitzroy. Is the Prime Minister aware that this house was sold in February 1996? The AWU was unable to recover the funds as it knew nothing of the association she helped set up or its slush fund. Does the Prime Minister agree that had she alerted the AWU to the existence of the association the union could have prevented further fraud?
Only the last part of that question was in order, because it would have had something to do with the Prime Minister's actions at the time, and her previous statements. But looking at moneys from other sources that the Prime Minister had nothing to do with—
Opposition members interjecting—
and had nothing to do with her statements, involvement and her work, is, I think, going a step too far. I have ruled the last part of the question in order. The Prime Minister has the call.
Thank you very much, Speaker. I will answer the part of the Deputy Leader's question you ruled in order. I dealt yesterday comprehensively with my state of knowledge about these matters. And I dealt comprehensively yesterday with assertions about what I should have reported when I dealt with that comprehensively yesterday. I stand by those answers. Those answers are correct. They are honest answers. So, once again, we have the Deputy Leader of the Opposition either dealing with matters—
I rise on a point of order. Until that point the Prime Minister was being relevant to the question but the question was: does she agree that had she alerted the AWU earlier they could have averted further fraud—that is, the sale of the home at Fitzroy? That is the question she has to answer.
I refer to the point of order. The Manager of Opposition Business uses points of order to repeat the question and sometimes to paraphrase them and to try and get two questions out of one. The opposition have had their two supplementary questions; they do not get another one.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition's question proceeds on a false premise. I remind the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that, in order for an association to be incorporated in Western Australia, the intention to incorporate that association has to be advertised. It was so advertised in the West Australian newspaper on Friday, 6 March 1992. So persons who bought or read the West Australian newspaper on that day or who had cause to look back on those records at some later date would have seen it—it was there very publicly. It is a requirement of association law. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition is trying to create a false premise about what could be known about this association. I refer her to the fact that the incorporation was publicly dealt with in the newspaper.
More generally, the opposition's questions today have been all about smear and innuendo. The questions they have asked are ones I have dealt with on the public record as long ago as 1995. If the opposition genuinely thinks there is a serious allegation against me at the heart of all this, why hasn't the Leader of the Opposition asked a question? The Leader of the Opposition has asked me questions up hill and down dale about matters like carbon pricing. He has engaged in hard-hitting speeches in this parliament. He has never been shy of insults. He has never been shy about giving me a character assessment.
If the opposition genuinely thought there were anything serious at the base of all this, why wouldn't the Leader of the Opposition have the guts to get up and do it himself? We know the answer to that. The Leader of the Opposition is trying to pretend to the Australian people that he is not the person holding this bucket of mud when he most clearly is—and clearly he is doing that because he is incapable of producing a policy or plan in the nation's interest.