House debates

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Questions without Notice

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction

3:00 pm

Photo of Mark ButlerMark Butler (Hindmarsh, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is again to the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. I refer to the minister's previous answer in relation to his disclosure. Why, in his latest statement of members' interests, did the minister disclose Gufee's interest in the Maclaughlin River Pastoral company but not Jam Land?

Hon. Members:

Honourable members interjecting

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

Members will cease interjecting. I call the Leader of the House.

Photo of Christian PorterChristian Porter (Pearce, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | | Hansard source

Again, the second part of that question is clearly with respect to matters that are outside the minister's portfolio responsibilities. It's an effort to link back a very, very straight answer, which was that the minister has disclosed his interests in accordance with the rules—to try and create a linkage—to matters that are not within his responsibilities.

The minister's answer that he disclosed in accordance with the rules is simply to state that he disclosed his trusts and nominee companies in exactly the same way that all the members opposite do and that everyone else over here does—and, indeed, like the one that I'm looking at right now, which is not the minister's.

Mr Dreyfus interjecting

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

Member for Isaacs, my left ear is getting injured by you. I might take responsibility for seating arrangements if this continues. I'm going to hear from the Manager of Opposition Business. I have the problem I forecast last time, with part of the question being clearly out of order, but I'll still hear from the Manager of Opposition Business in case he has come up with something miraculous.

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the Arts) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, on your previous ruling, where you said that we were allowed to refer to and question a statement that has been made in the House: this question refers very specifically to a statement that the minister has repeatedly made in the House concerning his disclosures, and then challenges it very specifically by referring to the exact disclosure he has referred to, where one company has been included and another company, which the same Gufee has invested in, is not mentioned.

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the Arts) Share this | | Hansard source

There is no other way for us to test a statement made in the House other than to put forward evidence that we don't believe it's true.

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

Well, I say to the Manager of Opposition Business: none of that overrides the standing orders or the minister's responsibility. Whilst you're referring to the previous answer, the second part of the question refers to his responsibilities as a member of the House of Representatives, not as a minister, and the connection hasn't been made.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The Leader of the Opposition just interjected something that wasn't in the question, so it might give you a hint. I'm going to go to the next question—

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the Arts) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker—

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

In deference to the Manager of Opposition Business.

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the Arts) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The most important obligation of the obligations you referred to for ministers is to not mislead this House. We believe he has made a statement to this House that's not true, and that's what we want to test.

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

I say to the Manager of Opposition Business: I appreciate his efforts, but—

A government member interjecting

Whoever's interjecting on my right is not helping. The member for Goldstein looks guilty.

A government member interjecting

It wasn't? All right; I'm sorry. It was someone behind him. I'm just going to say to the Manager of Opposition Business, with respect: the point of order you made highlights my point, because that was not the question. The question wasn't whether he misled the House. That question wasn't asked. It asked about his individual responsibilities as a member of parliament.