Wednesday, 16 February 2022
Questions without Notice
Donations to Political Parties
My question is to the Treasurer. Yesterday the Treasurer told the House that he was concerned that political donations weren't being disclosed. Can the Treasurer confirm his Kooyong 200 Club raised $1.1 million in donations last financial year but named no individual donors in its AEC return? Why didn't he refer to this failure to disclose in his answer yesterday?
Opposition members interjecting—
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I see you've already gone to the relevant page, but it's clearly not within the Treasurer's responsibility. It's not a question that can be asked of him under the standing orders, and it should be ruled out of order.
Thanks, Mr Speaker. It has long been the case that issues which are normally not allowed to be asked of ministers, the door is opened when they give answers on the same topic. It has frequently been the case where we've had ministers, for example—there was a long precedence with the previous Speaker, where there's a normal prohibition on someone not being able to be asked about a previous portfolio. If they give a long answer when they're asked about a statement that they've issued, we've been allowed to continue to penetrate and ask questions about those answers. Had the Treasurer not given the answer he gave yesterday, I agree, this would be completely out of order. But yesterday, the Treasurer opened the door wide to the question of whether or not people are disclosing donations. He decided to lead with his chin, he's opened the door wide and we are simply asking him about that answer yesterday.
So you're saying that unless I come up with the correct page in a 700-page book right now, you're going to overrule a precedent that we've been using in this House since Federation?
Thank you. Mr Speaker, when you were a private member in this place, you sat in this chamber as this precedent was being used. You have sat here, time after time, when a minister has been challenged, and, in particular, this has happened where they've held a previous portfolio. And in each of the questions—
Government members interj ecting—
In each of the questions that have been asked by the opposition, they have always had the same form of the first line, which is referring to the previous answers. If that line's not there, the ruling has always been the question is out of order. But if the question that follows does refer specifically to previous answers, it has been in order. It has been a practice that we've been following.
We adhere to the relevant rules, but my comments yesterday were about the member for Warringah and the $100,000 donation from people linked to coal companies and the absolute hypocrisy of the Independents. The reality is that a vote for the Independents is a vote for the Labor Party, and that is because the Independents include former members of the Labor Party including in my electorate in the seat of Kooyong. They claim to be a cleanskin, but they're former members of the ALP. And when the Independents come into this place, they vote for the Labor Party, so the fact of the matter is that a vote for the Independents is a vote for Labor.