Wednesday, 14 November 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. The Auditor-General's audit of Tourism Australia, covering the period now Prime Minister Morrison was its managing director, found that under Mr Morrison Tourism Australia breached procurement guidelines, engaged companies before signing contracts and conducting value-for-money assessments, and withheld information from the board. Can the minister confirm that the New Zealand Auditor-General also conducted an inquiry into the New Zealand tourism board, covering the period now Prime Minister Morrison was the director of the New Zealand office for tourism and sport, and found Mr Morrison also withheld information from this board? Precisely how many audits, investigations and inquiries have been conducted into organisations being run by now Prime Minister Morrison?
The Labor Party are clearly getting more and more desperate! They can see that Prime Minister Morrison is somebody who gets results. He stopped the boats, fixing up Labor's mess on our borders. He fixed the GST, something that was in the too-hard basket for way too long.
Opposition senators interjecting—
Senator Collins and Senator Pratt, at least take a breath when I call order! Before Senator Hinch gets on his feet again to comment: I couldn't hear a word that Senator Cormann was saying, and he does have a very loud voice. So less noise, please. Senator Wong, you were rising on a point of order?
Yes, on a point of order on direct relevance. The question was: how many audits, investigations and inquiries have been conducted into organisations being run by the now Prime Minister? Given there are two Auditor-General's reports, why doesn't the minister answer the question?
I know that Senator Wong's colleagues are actually very interested in this and that every senator is interested in this secret that I'm about to reveal, and that is that as ministers of the Crown we're subject to inquiries, audits and scrutiny every single day. I was asked how many inquiries and audits. I will take that question on notice because—
Opposition senators interjecting—
The question was very long and contained numerous assertions, statements and questions.
Senator Bilyk interjecting—
Order, Senator Bilyk! I'm going to insist on order at least while I'm speaking! Senator Collins, the minister is being directly relevant. I will ask all those raising points of order to raise points of order rather than continuing to interject to the point where most of our colleagues in this chamber cannot hear the minister speak.
All of us who are ministers are subject to regular inquiries and audits. I was asked how many inquiries and audits, and I said that I would take that on notice and see how I could assist the chamber. But what recent inquiries have found is that Prime Minister Morrison was successful in stopping the boats and he was successful in fixing the GST-sharing arrangements, which were in the too-hard basket for way too long. He has been able to deliver stronger growth, more jobs and a stronger and improving budget position, having inherited from Labor a weakening economy, rising unemployment and a deteriorating budget. (Time expired)
Can the minister confirm that, in addition to being sacked as Managing Director of Tourism Australia, now Prime Minister Morrison was forced out as director of the New Zealand Office of Tourism and Sport? How many jobs has Prime Minister Morrison been sacked from or forced out of?
On the question, I'm going to make the observation that my knowledge of history is that New Zealand did not join the Federation, so there's a limited ability to ask questions about other countries. I will call the minister to answer it. As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't relate to a public statement, nor an area of ministerial responsibility. I'm calling the minister to answer. That question was very specifically about another nation.
No wonder that these sorts of issues are being pursued while the House of Representatives is not sitting. The Labor Party is getting desperate. The Labor Party is being pathetic. Bill Shorten would be embarrassed to watch the juvenile nature of his senators here in the Senate trying to do the bidding of the student politics dirt unit.
Reports indicate Prime Minister Morrison was paid in excess of $300,000 when he was sacked as Managing Director of Tourism Australia. Exactly how much of taxpayers' money was Prime Minister Morrison paid? And how many payouts has he received to go quietly after mismanaging organisations?
The point of order is on direct relevance. The question is: how much money did the Prime Minister receive? How many payouts has he received to go quietly after mismanaging organisations? We're talking about public money. It is a legitimate question. I ask the minister to return to the question.
I don't accept the premise of the question. Mr Morrison was an outstanding performer when it came to promoting Australia's tourism industry and he's highly regarded for his record. Of course, one of his great supporters was the highly popular, the highly regarded then shadow tourism minister, Senator Cameron's friend, Martin Ferguson. We know that Martin Ferguson was singing Scott Morrison's praises for his performance as Managing Director of Tourism Australia up and down Australia. I've tabled a letter, a comprehensive letter, pointing out the outstanding track record of Mr Morrison as Managing Director of Tourism Australia.
Honourable senators interjecting—