Senate debates

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Questions without Notice

Deputy Prime Minister

2:45 pm

Photo of Helen PolleyHelen Polley (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister to the Leader (Tasmania)) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Canavan. In an article entitled 'It's a bit fishy' in this morning's Daily Telegraph, it is reported that Deputy Prime Minister Joyce's former media adviser continued to work closely with Deputy Prime Minister Joyce even after she was given a job in Minister Canavan's office. Can the minister confirm that, while working for him in June, Deputy Prime Minister Joyce's former media adviser accompanied Mr Joyce to a press conference on the Murray-Darling Basin carp eradication program? Can the minister confirm that he was not present at the press conference?

Government Senators:

Government senators interjecting

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Order on my right! I have been asking for silence during questions. Senator Canavan.

2:46 pm

Photo of Matthew CanavanMatthew Canavan (Queensland, Liberal National Party, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the senator for her question. It's not unusual for staff in one office to help staff in other offices, particularly on busy parliamentary days. My understanding is that Ms Campion did attend that particular event to help with the audiovisual equipment. I was not at that event myself.

2:47 pm

Photo of Helen PolleyHelen Polley (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister to the Leader (Tasmania)) Share this | | Hansard source

Given the carp eradication program has nothing to do with the minister's portfolio of Resources and Northern Australia, why did Deputy Prime Minister Joyce's former media adviser accompany Mr Joyce to the press conference despite working for Minister Canavan? What role was she performing?

Government Senators:

Government senators interjecting

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Order on my right! I will call the minister when there's order. Order! Senator Macdonald! Senator Canavan, you've got the call.

2:48 pm

Photo of Matthew CanavanMatthew Canavan (Queensland, Liberal National Party, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia) Share this | | Hansard source

I believe I've dealt with that issue in answer to the first question. As I said, it's not unusual for staff in one office to help staff in others, particularly on days which can be quite busy in a parliamentary sitting framework.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Polley, a final supplementary question.

Photo of Helen PolleyHelen Polley (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister to the Leader (Tasmania)) Share this | | Hansard source

What proportion of her work time did Deputy Prime Minister Joyce's former media adviser spend working with Mr Joyce while notionally having a job in Minister Canavan's office?

Government Senators:

Government senators interjecting

Opposition Senators:

Opposition senators interjecting

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Order—around the chamber! Senator Canavan.

Photo of Matthew CanavanMatthew Canavan (Queensland, Liberal National Party, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia) Share this | | Hansard source

Ms Campion was an effective employee in my office. She clearly had the skills and experience to perform the role she did. She's had extensive experience in the media, including as a deputy chief of staff at The Daily Telegraph. She worked in government for a number of years before coming to work for me, as well. She spent the vast majority of her time helping my office improve the professionalism of our digital media content. She particularly had a role in organising a tour of the Bowen Basin and North and Central Queensland to sell the message from those areas of the country about how important our resources sector is—a message that the Labor Party could well heed, because they don't seem to get this message very often from their own representatives up there. Ms Campion worked effectively in my office, albeit only for three months, as I had to resign from the ministry over the citizenship issue, and she was an effective employee for me.