House debates

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Personal Explanations

3:13 pm

Photo of Cathy McGowanCathy McGowan (Indi, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, I would like to make a personal explanation.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Photo of Cathy McGowanCathy McGowan (Indi, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

In this parliament yesterday, I gave a poster to the member for Mayo. The poster encourages women to stand for election, particularly those Independent women. This poster refers to domestic discussions currently taking place in this House about the need for more women in this place. Unintentionally, it seems that I have given offence. So, no disrespect was intended to any members of this place, or, dare I say, to members of the delegation that were here at that time. My sincere apologies to any offence that was taken either by members of this House or by any members of the delegation or related parties.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Indi. I just must say to her and to other members that it is important to be very mindful that visitors here on the floor of the House in the distinguished visitors' gallery are guests of this parliament and, as I said to the member for Indi, she knew the rules on props. I know that that doesn't prevent other members holding posters, frankly, for photographs. I just ask you to be mindful not to involve the distinguished visitors' gallery. They're not here to be part of any of that.

3:15 pm

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Manager of Opposition Business (House)) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek to make a personal statement.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Does the Manager of Opposition Business claim to have been misrepresented?

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Manager of Opposition Business (House)) Share this | | Hansard source

Yes. In question time today the Minister for Home Affairs claimed that I had advocated for a visa for a hate preacher. This is incorrect. When I wrote to the department, at no stage did I ask for the issuing of a visa. I did ask for further information on the applicant, which was withheld from me.

Photo of David ColemanDavid Coleman (Banks, Liberal Party, Minister for Immigration) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek to make a personal explanation.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Does the member claim to have been misrepresented?

Photo of David ColemanDavid Coleman (Banks, Liberal Party, Minister for Immigration) Share this | | Hansard source

Yes, I do.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member may proceed.

Photo of David ColemanDavid Coleman (Banks, Liberal Party, Minister for Immigration) Share this | | Hansard source

In question time today the member for Sydney stated that there was a Nine News report that I had made a comment during an earlier division in the House of Representatives as the member for Banks. There is no such report that I made such a comment, and I did not do so.

3:16 pm

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Minister for Home Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek to make a personal explanation.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Does the minister claim to have been misrepresented?

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Minister for Home Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

Yes, I do, by the honourable member for Watson just at the end of question time then. To provide clarity to the matter, the fact is, as I'm advised, the member for Watson made representation in support of a known hate preacher. The hate preacher has publicly advocated for the execution of homosexuals and the subjugation of women. The individual said in a 2011 television interview—

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The minister needs to resume his seat. If the minister, like anyone else in this House, claims to have been misrepresented, he needs to go to where he's been misrepresented, not to relitigate the matter in any way, shape or form. Question time is over. If the minister is going to go to where he's been misrepresented in another matter, I'll hear the minister.

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Minister for Home Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

In the contribution by the member for Watson, he made statements which sought to misrepresent my position, and I'm going to those points. There was a misrepresentation of what I had said in question time. The fact is, as I'm advised, not only did the member for Watson make representations on this issue but his office also called the department as well.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The Manager of Opposition Business is seeking the call. Does the Manager of Opposition Business claim to have been—

3:17 pm

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Manager of Opposition Business (House)) Share this | | Hansard source

No, I'm not rising on a personal explanation. I'm rising on the principle under standing orders that once something has been put under a personal explanation you have the capacity to intervene when an attempt is put again to put something forward that has been established as untrue. What I would invite, as a way forward, is for the minister to table the letter, because he's just characterised it in an inaccurate way, and that will put you beyond doubt so that you're able to exercise your power under standing orders to prevent this abuse from occurring again.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I say to the Manager of Opposition Business that it's up to ministers whether they wish to table a matter; it's not up to me.

Honourable members interjecting

I thought I'd done my last 94(a) for the day, but perhaps not. I say to those interjecting on my left: you're preventing me dealing with a matter raised by your own Manager of Opposition Business. If you think about it for just a second, you'll realise how truly ridiculous it is. I want to address the matter raised by the Manager of Opposition Business. It's not within my power to ask ministers to table documents. That is their choice, and, as members on my left know, if they wish to table documents, they need to seek leave. With respect to the standing order the member refers to, I've addressed this question at length in the House before. It's a problematic standing order for a range of reasons. At least on this occasion, the member concerned has raised the matter, and, if that were to be a matter of consideration, it would be at future sittings, when it comes to the repetition.