Senate debates

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Questions without Notice

National Security

2:06 pm

Photo of George BrandisGeorge Brandis (Queensland, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | Hansard source

Yes, Senator Collins—somebody who's achieved more in his career than you would ever dream of. Senator Smith, this morning, as you would have seen, media reports have detailed further allegations regarding statements made by Senator Dastyari that, once again, are at odds with statements that he has made in this place. Today, News Corporation papers have detailed more than 115 questions put by Senator Dastyari during Senate estimates to our top Defence and Foreign Affairs officials, scripted by others, concerning Australia's defence and foreign policy position in relation to China. I know you're a good Anglican, Senator Smith, so, in this quincentenary year of the Reformation, I might say we've heard of Martin Luther's 39 articles and his 95 theses. These are Senator Dastyari's 115 questions. But, unlike Martin Luther, Senator Dean Smith, they weren't divinely inspired; they were inspired by another power, another more terrestrial power.

Senator Smith, last week, when Senator Dastyari was called to give an account of the allegations against him, including his now infamous Chinese media press conference in June 2016, he claimed that it had been a mischaracterisation, yet analysis in today's media plainly suggests otherwise. Where's he gone, old Senator Dastyari? There he is, over there. Senator Dastyari, we can see you over there now. The reports detail a long and shameful history of questions scripted, directed and inspired by someone else—not to interrogate defence and intelligence officials in Australia's national interest but to interrogate those officials in the interests of another power. (Time expired)


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