Wednesday, 13 February 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. In question time in the House of Representatives today, Minister Keenan repeated his assurance, previously given on three occasions, that neither he nor anyone in his office informed media outlets prior to the execution of the search warrant on the AWU offices. Mr Keenan's answers directly contradict evidence given under oath in court today by Minister Cash's former senior media advisor. Who is telling the truth: Minister Keenan or Minister Cash's former senior media advisor?
Obviously, the Prime Minister and I have full confidence in Minister Keenan and his statements to the parliament. As far as the other question is concerned, I refer Senator Wong to my previous answer, which is that there are a range of matters currently subject to Federal Court processes. It is not my job to assess these statements that are made in the Federal Court. Under the separation of powers under our parliamentary democracy, I will leave that to the relevant court.
Did Mr Morrison or any member of his office seek further information from Minister Cash or Minister Keenan regarding this contradiction between their public statements and evidence given in the Federal Court prior to question time?
The minister has been speaking for another nine seconds. He was directly addressing the issue of information in what I thought was nine seconds since the last point of order. I'm listening very carefully. He has 42 seconds remaining to answer.
Both Senator Cash and Minister Keenan have provided honest, accurate and forthright answers based on their state of knowledge. The Prime Minister has full confidence in his ministers. As far as evidence in court proceedings is concerned, that is a matter to be tested through the normal processes in the court.
There is a time after question time to debate answers. I cannot direct a minister as to how or the manner in which he should answer a question. He has concluded his answer, and that's a matter for the Senate. Senator Wong, a final supplementary question.
Has Mr Morrison sought assurances from Minister Cash or Minister Keenan that no members of their staff communicated with the then Prime Minister, Treasurer and Leader of the Government in the Senate or their office to give advance notice of an independent police raid on the AWU offices, and, if not, why not?