Thursday, 10 December 2020
Questions without Notice
My point of order is regarding the standing orders that allow the Prime Minister to have someone answer questions on his behalf. That's allowed, but it cannot be allowed with just a contemptuous nod of the head. It's got to be referred, and the parliament deserves to be treated with respect.
In response to the point of order, I'm just going to point out a couple of things to the Leader of the Opposition. I'm not going to take the House to the page of the Practice that makes clear the very long history of the Prime Minister being able to refer questions to any minister, and I am not going to take him to the page of the Practice where it says how that should be done, because it doesn't say so. There's been a long history of Prime Ministers not coming to the microphone and referring the question away. That's certainly been the case. It's something I'm happy to look at. This is the last day of this year. Certainly he's not the first Prime Minister to look to a minister and ask them to answer the question. The Minister for Industrial Relations has the call.
The double negative question was: will the PM back down on something which the government has not done? No, we won't, because we haven't done it and therefore there is nothing to back down on. The question really is: why are the members for Watson and Grayndler on their motorcycles seeing who can jump the biggest shark? What is going on there?
Ms Burney interjecting—
In response I'll say that it's not open to questioners to demand they answer it in a certain way. It was a specific question, but it was a question that had at its heart an allegation. The minister answering is quite entitled to rebut an allegation in a question.
We reject the allegation wholeheartedly. There they are on their motorcycles—vroom-vroom!—getting ready to jump the biggest shark they can find. Why are they both trying so hard to overreach each other?
Mr Rob Mitchell interjecting—
I am going to caution the member for McEwen for his interjection. It is disorderly to start comparing anyone in this House to some fictional character. I will say to the member for McEwen that it's dangerous territory for him. The Leader of the Opposition on a point of order?
I will explain to the Leader of the Opposition what the phrase 'jumping the shark' means after question time. But why are they both trying to overreach each other? Why are they both trying to come out with the most absurd, ridiculous untruth in a question that they possibly can? It's because it's the final audition for the one job that they both want, and that is the job of the person sitting over there. They both want and envy that job, and that's why we are getting this ridiculous overreach.