Wednesday, 4 March 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the Prime Minister's earlier answer. Did General Campbell, the Chief of the Defence Force, speak to the Prime Minister personally to indicate that he was 'discomforted by the use of Australian Defence Force imagery in this post'?
I talk to the Chief of the Defence Force very regularly. When I have private discussions with the Chief of the Defence Force I respect those private discussions. When he raises these issues or any other issues, I always respect and thank him very much for the advice that he provides me with on those matters. We seek to ensure that we reflect in our own actions the advice that we're provided. The other thing I've listened to the Chief of the Defence Force about is the need to ensure we boost our defence capability in this country.
It's on direct relevance. While the information the Prime Minister is now providing is important, it is not relevant to the question that he was asked. We're simply asking for a straight answer to a simple question. There was no preamble in this at all. The issue that allowed him to go off on a tangent in the previous question was not in this question.
I say to the Prime Minister: I agree with the Manager of Opposition Business in this regard. It was a very specific question. I do say to the Manager of Opposition Business: the Prime Minister is not required to give a yes or no answer. I believe at the beginning of his answer he was directly relevant to the question—there's no question about that—but this is not an opportunity to talk about other matters, given that there was no preamble. The Prime Minister has concluded his answer.