Thursday, 21 February 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware of evidence at Senate estimates today from the former group general manager of a Helloworld company who met with Joe Hockey in Washington? I ask the Prime Minister what his response is to the fact that the evidence includes:
I asked Mr Burnes how could this be done so quickly, he verbally advised me, 'Hockey owes me'.
I note the member's question and I simply refer to the statement made to the Australian Stock Exchange. Companies do not make statements to the Stock Exchange lightly. Others may make statements, and their veracity can be tested in those forums, but, when you make a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, that is a very serious matter.
Opposition members interjecting—
The statement to the Australian Stock Exchange from Helloworld Travel Ltd, says:
Mr Burnes did not request the meeting with DFAT personnel in the United States.
The Prime Minister will resume his seat. Before I call the Manager of Opposition Business, I will give that reminder that I give every day at about this time: when questions covering aspects of detail like this are asked I do need to be able to hear the answer. And, generally, I point out to those who are interjecting that they are not helping either the questioner or the person answering. I just wish they'd get the message. The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order.
On direct relevance: the question relates quite specifically to a period sometime before the tender. The Prime Minister is answering about what happened around the time of the tender. This question goes entirely to events prior to what the Prime Minister is talking about.
The Manager of Opposition Business can resume his seat. I did get to listen to the question without interjection, unlike the answer. The Prime Minister is in order because the first part of the question merely asked him whether he was aware of Senate estimates evidence. On that basis, he is answering in the way that he sees fit. The second part was certainly more specific. So, Prime Minister, I'm listening to you very closely. If those behind the Manager of Opposition Business would assist me and, I would also say, assist the Manager of Opposition Business and stop interjecting, I'll be able to listen to the answer to check that the Prime Minister continues to be relevant.
But what we do know about this issue is this: we know that the Labor Party have had this in their bottom drawer for some time, and, if this issue was so important for so many months, why is it being used as some sort of distracting political tactic here in this chamber to appeal to the good old Canberra bubble, where the leader of the Labor Party dwells? As we also read today, on this issue—how arrogant have the Labor Party become—what was the headline today in The Age? 'Shorten may sack Hockey'. So arrogant have they become that they are already deciding who they might sack, who they might keep, who they might target. I'll tell you who they're going to target. They're going to target retirees in this country, with higher taxes. They're going to target homeowners, with higher taxes. They're going to target renters. They're going to attack farmers, who they today wouldn't even support a Future Drought Fund for. Shame on the Labor Party.