Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Questions without Notice
Australian Federal Police
My question is to the Prime Minister. Given TV cameras turned up at the sites of AFP raids yesterday before even the Federal Police did, can the Prime Minister guarantee that his employment minister or her office didn't notify anyone in the press gallery before the raid?
Opposition members interjecting—
The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order? Just before I call the Manager of Opposition Business, members need to cease interjecting or I'm going to take severe action. The Manager of Opposition Business—and I'm not criticising him here—insists quite rightly that I listen to every word that's said to ensure it complies with the standing orders. It doesn't help the House, the dignity of the House or its operation, frankly, for there to be a wall of uncontrollable interjections. The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order.
I have a point of order on direct relevance. The question, on a very specific issue, involves no preamble. The Prime Minister is now saying what the 'real' question is and wanting to go to a completely different issue. I ask you to draw him back to the question.
Over that wall of interjections, I did manage to hear the Prime Minister clearly at the very start of the answer talk about the substance of the question, and he related it to the minister being in Senate estimates. It couldn't have been more relevant. He is now 30 seconds into the answer. I showed some latitude on the member for Sydney's question. I show latitude on preambles, and it cuts both ways. The Prime Minister has the call.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. The Minister for Employment has assured me that she did not advise any journalists about the raid. But she's in estimates, I believe, this afternoon and will no doubt have the opportunity to go into this in great detail. But the real issue is this: why did the AWU give $100,000 of its hardworking members' union dues to GetUp! and was it authorised under the rules? That is the matter that the Registered Organisations Commission is investigating, and that inquiry was the subject or the context of the search warrants that were exercised yesterday. As honourable members would know, the Registered Organisations Commission said yesterday in a statement:
Since the investigation commenced, the ROC received information which raised reasonable grounds for suspecting that documents relevant to this investigation may be on the premises of the AWU … and that those documents may be being interfered with (by being concealed or destroyed).
They went to a magistrate, they secured a warrant and the warrant was executed. And now I see that the AWU's lawyers are in court trying to stop the police having access to the documents.