House debates

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Questions without Notice

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction

2:54 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 Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. Section 316 of the New South Wales Crimes Act creates an offence for failing to bring information about the commission of a forgery designed to influence a public duty to the attention of the New South Wales Police Force. Has the minister reported this matter to the New South Wales police or does he still seriously claim that the document he provided the Daily Telegraph is not a forgery? If he does make that claim, will he provide metadata to support it, as the City of Sydney has?

Opposition Members:

Opposition members interjecting

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

I say to members on my left that one of their colleagues has asked a question that I presume he wants answered and they are preventing that happening. The Leader of the House, on a point of order?

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

Yes, on standing order 100 (d) (iv)—imputations. The first question and the subsequent question went to the origins of a document. The minister has been absolutely straight in his answers with respect to the origins.

Opposition members interjecting

It may not have been the answer that members opposite wanted, but the answer was provided. Now they ask a question which infers and imputes that an offence has been created or, indeed, asks the minister with respect to that which is not at all proven and not at all clear.

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

The Manager of Opposition Business, on the point of order?

Mr Albanese interjecting

I say to the Leader of the Opposition that I can't listen to two people at once. The Manager of Opposition Business has the call.

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

The question is effectively in three parts. The first describes an offence; the second asks whether the minister has reported it; and the third then asks whether the minister is in fact claiming that this would happen, in which case the offence would not have been committed. So none of the imputations that the Leader of the House just referred to are made in the question.

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

I thank the Manager of Opposition Business and the Leader of the House for that. I am just going to make two points, without detaining the House for too long. On these sorts of issue, I've taken the approach of Speaker Andrew, which is if questions tend to contain accusations, by not allowing them you don't allow the minister the opportunity, at least, to respond. To the Leader of the House: I'm glad he raised the point of order that he did about a strict reading of the standing orders. As I've said before, if I were to apply that, that would change a lot of questions. But, of course, I would also be applying it to answers. So the House can perhaps reflect on that over the next four weeks. The minister has the call.

2:57 pm

Photo of Angus TaylorAngus Taylor (Hume, Liberal Party, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction) Share this | | Hansard source

I absolutely reject the premise of the question. Those opposite will believe anything they read on their favourite website. The truth is that the member for Hindmarsh wants to distract from his woes—from the open hostility between he and his colleagues. They are all smear and no idea.