House debates

Monday, 10 September 2018

Statements by Members

Minister for Home Affairs

1:38 pm

Photo of Adam BandtAdam Bandt (Melbourne, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

There's one rule in this House for ministers: to tell the truth and not mislead the House. You might not like what a minister comes in here and says; you might not agree with the decision that she or he makes, but the basic rule is that, when you ask them a question, they tell you what they've done and they tell you accurately. I asked the Minister for Home Affairs, in March this year, whether he had any personal connection or other relationship with someone he helped out with an au pair issue. He not only categorically ruled it out, but he went on to say, 'I do not know them.' Then he went on radio after that and said: 'I do know them. I happened to work with them 20 years ago as a colleague. I worked with them over a period of two years.' Then he comes into the House this morning, apparently to clear matters up, and says nothing more than, 'We haven't spoken since that time,' implying that they did speak before. The minister didn't qualify his answer to my question. The minister didn't say 'to the best of my knowledge'. He gave us a categorical answer, and he has been caught out.

Now, that is clear. That is a clear breach, misleading the House, and it is a clear breach of the ministerial standards. It is up to the Prime Minister to now take action. If the Minister for Home Affairs won't resign, the Prime Minister should sack him. And, of course, this speedy intervention that the minister makes comes at the same time as we have 107 children on Nauru. They don't get the benefit of quick decisions to bring them here. They are left to languish and in some cases die. This minister is one in which the House has no confidence.