Monday, 3 June 2013
In question time today, the Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Competiveness, claimed that I said in an interview that the coalition had an agreement with Indonesia over border protection matters, as reported in an early version of The Guardian online. This was also referred to later, during the suspension motion by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
The claim that I said the coalition had an agreement with Indonesia is not true. At no time did I say in an interview with The Guardian online or in any other interview that the coalition had either negotiated or reached an agreement with Indonesia. Indeed, I said repeatedly in that interview that the coalition in opposition cannot reach agreements with foreign governments. After I contacted The Guardian online, it has withdrawn its original headline and has now included a paragraph that stated:
Bishop emphasised it was not possible to reach any agreement with a foreign government from Opposition and no formal agreement with Indonesia had been reached.
I have stated on numerous occasions that the coalition has not reached an agreement and I seek leave to table the press release I put out this morning headed 'Guardian beat up'.
Leave not granted.
In today's electronic media and several sources, the following comments were made. On some versions, this has been corrected. The first claim was that Simon McKeon had tried to contact me on Thursday and Friday last week to inform me of the decision—that being the reappointment of the CSIRO CEO. That is not correct. My office was contacted by Kimberley Shrives. It then goes on to say that 'Mr McKeon told Mrs Mirabella's office he had an important issue to discuss with her'. That is not correct. Kimberley Shrives was asked why I was requested to contact CSIRO and she refused to state what the issue was.
The report then goes on to say, 'When he was unable to talk to her he sent a text message directly to the Liberal MP, also stating he needed to discuss an important issue.' That is not correct. I received a text message on Friday after a missed call, informing me that there was a CSIRO issue that would be of interest to me. Then I was informed of the decision to reappoint Megan Clark for a further 12 months at about 14:50 on Sunday, about 40 minutes before it was made known to CSIRO staff.