House debates

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Questions without Notice

Members of Parliament: Staff

3:08 pm

Photo of Tanya PlibersekTanya Plibersek (Sydney, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Education) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the reported sexual assault of Brittany Higgins. This morning in response to a Senate order the government has confirmed the review by the Prime Minister's former chief of staff into what his office knew is a cabinet process. Why is the Prime Minister continuing his cover-up using cabinet-in-confidence? Don't the parliament, the public and, most of all, Brittany Higgins deserve the truth?

3:09 pm

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I've already told the parliament in response to similar questions that I'm awaiting the report from the secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He also used to be the secretary of Treasury in the New South Wales government. He used to be my chief of staff—that is true. I've said that, once I receive that report, I will report further. I advised the House yesterday regarding the secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet that, if there are issues regarding sensitivity, matters that the Federal Police have advised him of, I'll wait for him to give me that advice. But the assertions that have been put forward by the member for Sydney and the allegations that are made in those questions I don't accept.

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

The Leader of the Opposition is seeking to table a document.

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—I table the document from Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham which goes to the issue of this Gaetjens report being, somehow, a matter for the cabinet rather than for public.