Monday, 22 February 2021
Members of Parliament: Staff
I rise to take note of Minister Reynolds's statement. We have already said that this needs to be investigated by the police. I would have expected someone in the Prime Minister's position, both within his party and within the parliament, to have acted swiftly, immediately, unequivocally and clearly. We have not seen that.
I go back to August 2019, when I was on the inquiry into the appointments of former Minister Bishop and former minister Christopher Pyne immediately after they retired from parliament. I can remember that Senator McAllister and I, and others, were in the inquiry asking questions, and I persisted and persisted with Mr Parkinson about the investigation he'd been given responsibility to lead. Eventually, Mr Parkinson started getting nervous and unsteady, and he admitted that he had no power to investigate the issue. I'm only a junior senator—I've only been here five minutes—but he was the Prime Minister's chief man. The Prime Minister knows that Mr Gaetjens does not have the power to investigate this issue.
So, while we are in favour of a police investigation, we also are not pleased that the Prime Minister has been sloppy and slow and seems to be avoiding the issue. What we want is a proper investigation as to what happens in this building and in the corridors of power, because we just cannot accept what happened to Ms Higgins and, as we found out over the weekend, two other people. This building is becoming a blight on the country. We need to have a Prime Minister who is honest, objective, clear, quick and unequivocal in his response to this.
Question agreed to.