Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is again addressed to the Prime Minister. Yesterday and just now the Prime Minister told the House that he had 'spoken with the New South Wales police commissioner, Mick Fuller, about the instigation, the nature and the substance of their inquiries.' How on earth was it appropriate for you as Prime Minister to speak to the New South Wales police commissioner about the substance of an investigation on the very day it was launched?
Honourable members interjecting—
I'm going to go through what I said yesterday to refresh the Leader of the Opposition's memory because it seems to have been lacking this morning. Yesterday I said very clearly:
This is a very recent matter, and I will be happy to take advice from the New South Wales police in relation to any matters that they're pursuing.
Mr Bowen interjecting—
Then I said:
I will be taking advice from the New South Wales police on any matter that they are currently looking at—
I will be taking advice from the New South Wales police on any matter that they are currently looking at, and I will form a view, based on taking that advice, in considering these issues.
That was the second time. The third time, I said:
What I will do is what I said in response to the last question: I will speak directly to the New South Wales Police Force and understand the nature of what these reports are, and then I will make the necessary assessments of that case at that time.
That was the third time. The fourth time, I said:
I'm going to leave the matters of pursuing these issues to the New South Wales Police.
The Leader of the Opposition can resume his seat.
Mr Irons interjecting—
Just before I call the Prime Minister, the member for Swan is warned. The question had a number of elements and, as I have said ad nauseam, the Prime Minister and other ministers are required to be directly relevant and he's being directly relevant to the subject matter of the question. The Prime Minister has the call.
Then I said:
I'm going to leave the matters of pursuing these issues to the New South Wales Police. I will speak directly to the New South Wales Police, I will consider the information they provide me about this matter and I will exercise my responsibilities under the standards once I have had the opportunity to have those discussions.
I said this on four occasions in the House yesterday in response to questions. I would suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that, if he is going to ask questions, he should listen to the answers and not sulk, as the Labor Party have been in a constant sulk for the last six months. What I did yesterday is what I told the House I would do, and then I went and did it. Out of absolute courtesy, as I should to this House, I came back into this House and fully put forward those issues and the assessment that I had taken. I refer the Leader of the Opposition to the comments by the commissioner today. Mick Fuller has said today, in a doorstep interview:
The Prime Minister didn't ask me any questions that were inappropriate, he didn't ask for anything that was inappropriate and I'm comfortable with the discussion that we had that ran over a few minutes.