Monday, 2 March 2015
Questions without Notice
Australian Human Rights Commission
My question is to the Attorney-General, Senator Brandis. Can the Attorney-General explain to the Senate why the law of the Commonwealth prevents the giving or receiving of a corrupting benefit by a Commonwealth official?
Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Can the Attorney-General advise the Senate why the Statement of Ministerial Standards provides that:
Ministers must not encourage or induce other public officials, including public servants, by their decisions, directions or conduct in office to breach the law …
I can indeed, and the reason is that the ministerial standards are an important integrity measure which was prepared by the Prime Minister and the cabinet office, and settled in part by me, to ensure that the standards of this government are considerably higher than the standards of your government, Senator Wong—a government that was characterised by serial lying to the Australian people by the former Prime Minister Ms Gillard; her predecessor and successor, Mr Rudd; and, Senator Wong, on many infamous occasions, by you.
Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Does the Attorney-General recognise that, through his conduct, he has involved the Secretary of Attorney-General's Department in a partisan attack on the President of the Human Rights Commission, brought his own office into disrepute and damaged Australia's international rights standing? Further, he has now been censured by this Senate. Will he now resign?
There has been no partisan attack on the President of the Human Rights Commission. I refer to what I said in my remarks to the chamber earlier today. There was, however, Senator Wong—and you, as the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate ought to take responsibility for this—a disgraceful attack on the integrity of the secretary of my department, Chris Moraitis, by your colleague Senator Jacinta Collins—a disgraceful, contemptible attack on the integrity of a respected, independent public servant.