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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (12 February) . . Page.. 308..


MR CORBELL: Mr Smyth is correct: that question has been redirected on a number of occasions. It arrived early this week with the department of health. I appreciate that there has been some delay. Whilst it was not within the control of the department of health until Monday this week, we will endeavour to answer the question as soon as possible.

Ministerial code of conduct

Paper and statement by minister

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Code of Conduct for Ministers, dated February 2004.

I ask for leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: It is with great pleasure that I table today a revised code of conduct for ministers. The adoption of this new code fulfils a promise made in the lead-up to the last election. The Labor Party said that in government it would review the code of conduct for ministers and strenuously apply a rigorous code. Today the government fulfils that commitment.

The values incorporated in this code-fairness, openness and responsibility-are among the government's core values. The new code of conduct is the result of a comprehensive review of the code used by the previous ministry, involving examination of best practice standards across Australia and overseas and incorporating the principles and values that reflect the high standards expected of someone in a minister's position of trust. The new code sets out a standard for how ministers should conduct themselves in office and the responsibilities and obligations that come with the position of minister.

However, the government does not intend to simply adopt a code and think nothing more of it. I consider that the principles and standards set out in the code apply each day a minister is in office and are relevant to each decision he or she makes. The government will not back away from the code when it suits; we will stand by it and uphold its values.

In addition to drawing on sections of the previous code, such as "official and personal conduct"and "ministers' personal interests", key changes to the code have been made in a number of areas. The children overboard affair in the Commonwealth and the unauthorised diversion and receipt of a member's emails in the Assembly have demonstrated that parliamentary representatives require the support of their staff to appropriately fulfil their obligations and ethical responsibilities as public representatives.

While the code will only directly apply to ministers, a new requirement has been added that ministers ensure that, wherever relevant, their staff comply with the requirements of the code and are aware that they are obliged to support the minister's compliance with the code. Under the code, ministers are also responsible for ensuring that their staff are


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