Senate debates

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Answers to Questions on Notice

Questions Nos 223, 224, 225, 226, 227 and 234

3:05 pm

Photo of Penny WongPenny Wong (SA, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

I will take that interjection. Maybe it does not exist at all and that is why cannot be produced. The Prime Minister promised before the election that he would lead a government that would be accountable and transparent and he is not delivering on that promise. The Assistant Minister for Health's failure to answer these questions is just the latest example of how this is a government that is not doing what it said it would do. It is a secretive government and it is an arrogant government. It is a government that refuses to be accountable to the public for its actions.

We have had the Assistant Minister for Health, with a conflict of interest in her office, misleading the Senate and refusing to answer questions. We have had Senator Sinodinos refusing to explain his involvement in Australian Water Holdings. And we have had the Prime Minister refusing to be upfront about what he knew in both of these matters. One minister has gone, another has been censured and a chief of staff has quit over a conflict of interest. We now have absurdities like the letter which the Assistant Minister for Health claims shows how she was managing a conflict of interest, but which her department says is not an official document.

We have absurdities like the acting Assistant Treasurer, who is also the Minister for Finance, put on hold changes which are the responsibility of the Assistant Treasurer and where the Assistant Treasurer stood aside yet he is still the Assistant Treasurer even though his job is being done by the acting Assistant Treasurer. The Prime Minister is leading a secretive, slipshod and arrogant government.


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