House debates

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Questions without Notice

National Security

3:06 pm

Photo of Tanya PlibersekTanya Plibersek (Sydney, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. On ABC Radio today, the minister denied that Australia had been asked to supply weapons to support the Peshmerga in their struggle against IS in Iraq. This letter, sent to the minister on 11 August by Kurdish representatives in Australia, shows that Australia was asked for 'military support including equipment and ammunitions.' Why did the minister provide false information to Australians about such important matters of national security?

Photo of Ms Julie BishopMs Julie Bishop (Curtin, Liberal Party, Minister for Foreign Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

As I said on Sky News about midday today, I did investigate. A letter was sent from the Kurdish representative in Canberra which was received by my office on 18 August. I was, in fact, in Singapore and because it did not come from an accredited diplomat or a nation-state it was sent to the lawyers to consider the status of the letter. I was not aware of the letter this morning, but I was aware of the request that had been considered by our National Security Committee. So the subject of the letter has been considered by our National Security Committee, but the existence of the letter was indeed sent to our lawyers to determine its status because it is not from a sovereign government, nor from an accredited diplomat in Canberra.

Photo of Mrs Bronwyn BishopMrs Bronwyn Bishop (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I call the member for Wright.

Photo of Joel FitzgibbonJoel Fitzgibbon (Hunter, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Agriculture) Share this | | Hansard source

Madam Speaker—

Photo of Mrs Bronwyn BishopMrs Bronwyn Bishop (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I thought you were on a point of order.