Senate debates

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Questions without Notice: Additional Answers

Ministerial Standards

7:20 pm

Photo of Zed SeseljaZed Seselja (ACT, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters) Share this | | Hansard source

I table a response to a question taken on notice during question time today, asked by Senator Gallagher and relating to the Parkinson report. I seek leave to have the correspondence incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows—

Dear Mr President

I write with regard to a question I took on notice from Senator Gallagher during Question Time today 11 February 2020 on the matter of the 'Parkinson Report'.

I can confirm that the assertion made by Senator Gallagher that the report prepared by former Secretary Parkinson went to the Governance Committee of Cabinet is false.

While former Secretary Parkinson made reference to the Governance Committee of Cabinet in his correspondence to the Prime Minister, the report prepared by former Secretary Parkinson was not considered by the Governance Committee of Cabinet. This was because the Parkinson Report related to former ministers who had retired some time earlier. I tabled this Report by Dr Parkinson in the Senate on 22 July 2019.

The Prime Minister, upon becoming aware of the circumstances surrounding the former ministers' employment, sought guidance from the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. On receipt of Dr Parkinson's advice, the Prime Minister made this available to the Senate and by extension the Australian public.

The report prepared by Secretary Gaetjens relating to Senator McKenzie related to a then-serving minister, which was prepared for and considered by the Governance Committee of Cabinet. As such, this report is subject to the longstanding Cabinet-in-confidence exemption, which has been claimed by Governments of all persuasions in the Westminster system for several hundred years.

I have copied this letter to the Prime Minister and Senator Gallagher.

Kind regards

Mathias Cormann

Minister for Finance