Thursday, 28 November 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is again addressed to the Prime Minister. Former anticorruption commissioner and Supreme Court Judge David Ipp AO QC has said in relation to the Prime Minister's phone call to the New South Wales Police Commissioner:
You can't see that it's information that relates to matters of state interest. It can only relate to matters of party interest.
How on earth was that phone call appropriate?
Once again I reject the premise of the question which is raised by the Leader of the Opposition and I refer the member to the response by Commissioner Fuller yesterday, who said very plainly:
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 we had over a few minutes.
They are the words of the Police Commissioner. If the Leader of the Opposition wants to cast aspersions against the New South Wales Police Commissioner he can do so. But I simply say this: the Leader of the Opposition raised a very serious issue with me at the beginning of this week, on Tuesday. I undertook to fulfil my obligations, which he invited me to do, under the statement of ministerial standards, where I had to assess whether a minister should stand aside in the circumstances he presented. I sought to inform myself, as is entirely appropriate, of the nature, substance and instigation of that investigation. I was up-front with the parliament about doing it. I then went and undertook that action and then I reported back to this House on that action—
Dr Aly interjecting—
Could the Prime Minister just pause for a second. The member for Cowan will leave under 94(a).
The member for Cowan then left the chamber.
Ms Catherine King interjecting—
And the member for Ballarat is about to follow her! The Prime Minister has the call.
I undertook that action, as I flagged in this House. I went outside this place, I undertook that action, and I came and reported back to this action in the parliament and the decision I have taken. What I find strange is that at no time during that period on Tuesday did the Leader of the Opposition—during the course of that evening in the many interviews that he gave or, indeed, even after I had come back into this place and explained that I had had that conversation with the Police Commissioner—raise any objection. He raised no objection all night. There he was. He didn't do it until the next day, I am advised. He didn't do it until the next day, until he read it in The Guardian. We know who's pulling his chain!