Monday, 30 November 2015
Questions without Notice
Special Minister of State
My question is to the Cabinet Secretary, Senator Sinodinos. I refer to the Cabinet Secretary's statement last week:
I don't think the situation Mal Brough is in at the moment qualifies for him having to stand aside …
Has the Cabinet Secretary spoken with the Prime Minister about Mr Brough's conduct in the James Ashby affair to satisfy himself that it does not constitute a 'prima facie breach' of the ministerial standards, which mandate that ministers must act in accordance with the law?
I thank the honourable Leader of the Opposition in the Senate for her question. I go no further than what the Prime Minister said last week, when he said:
… there are no new facts, matters or circumstances that have come to hand …
If there are new developments, obviously they will be considered.
These are matters for the Prime Minister. I have not spoken to the Prime Minister about this.
Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I refer to Mr Brough's admission on 60 Minutes last year that had asked Mr Ashby to procure copies of the former Speaker's diary. What criteria have been used to determine whether Mr Brough's admitted conduct in the James Ashby affair constitutes a prima facie breach of the ministerial standards?
Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Have the criteria for determining a breach of the ministerial standards changed since 2014, when the former Prime Minister required the then Assistant Treasurer to stand aside due to a corruption inquiry by the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption?