Senate debates

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Answers to Questions on Notice

Question No. 3985

3:12 pm

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | Hansard source

Those of us who serve in public office are fair game in this place for the political debates that occur. We bring many public servants into the limelight as part of Senate estimates processes and other processes of government to provide the opportunity for questioning and the opportunity for information-gathering across our democratic processes. But we ought to respect that those public servants are not elected officials and they are not public officials. They are individuals who rightly have accountability mechanisms and processes in place for the way in which they conduct their duties. Of course, as ministers, we are responsible for the work of our departments and for addressing those matters.

I acknowledge that, overwhelmingly, members of this place and members of the other place have respected the work of the Australian Public Service and have not sought to create this type of politicised attack on individuals within it. I acknowledge that the President will consider the matters before him and, if necessary, the privileges committee will consider those matters. But, certainly on behalf of the government, I wish to make clear our respect for the work of our Public Service officials and leaders, including those individuals who have been maligned in the comments by Senator Patrick.

Question agreed to.


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