Monday, 3 December 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister guarantee that no minister, government member or their office played any role in the leaking of what appears to be a confidential submission to the intelligence committee, which is a criminal offence under national security laws?
Mr Speaker, I understand the seriousness of the question and where the shadow Attorney-General is trying to go, but I'm not sure that the actions of everyone in the government ministerial wing are within the knowledge of the Prime Minister, so I don't know how he can answer that question.
Opposition members interjecting—
To the point of order: as the Leader of the House has effectively made clear, there's no objection within the standing orders to what's being asked here. If the Prime Minister believes he can't provide that level of detail, he can say that in his answer.
I'm not advised or aware of any information that would give rise to the sorts of concerns that the shadow Attorney-General has raised. Again, if the shadow Attorney-General wants to come in here and make these sorts of grubby smears, which is his habit in this place, he is well acquainted with the bottom of the chum bucket. The shadow Attorney-General does this on a regular occasion. He comes in here and makes the most outrageous and offensive smears, without any evidence whatsoever. What I do know is this: I know that, as a member of the Labor Party, the shadow Attorney-General voted against tougher penalties for paedophiles and gun runners—I know that for a fact—and so did the member for Watson.
The previous two questions did involve a level of preamble; this question involves none at all. It goes directly to the Prime Minister's knowledge of the leak and the potential criminal offence there. So, therefore, in the normal way, the relevance rule should have constraints that rule this sort of attack out.
The Manager of Opposition Business makes a reasonable point of order. It didn't have a preamble and it was quite specific. The point where I have allowed some lenience, though, which I think I have allowed at moments past, is that, if any member is under a degree of personal attack, I do allow a level of response. I think that has occurred. Has the Prime Minister concluded his answer? The Prime Minister has concluded his answer.