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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 2816..


MR BERRY (continuing):

to work every day—the whole family was there. You cannot tell me that that is approved practice for a legislature. There were family members all around the place—mums and dads and so on. I am saying that is inappropriate for a legislature, and so too does Hugh McKay:

[Australians] ...view the honesty and ethics of Members of both State and Federal Parliaments as only slightly better than those of used car salesmen.

This was in 2005 when I was referring to this issue:

Only 7% of Australians believe that Members of both State ... and Federal ... Parliament are of high or very high standards of honesty and ethics. The only profession rating lower than Members of Parliament is car salesmen ...

I say one of the reasons for that is the sorts of practices that Mrs Burke and Mr Mulcahy now attempt to promote—that is, members of the Assembly should be free to employ family members and make a direct contribution to their own budgets at home with public money on the basis of their decisions on the recruitment and selection of staff, determining the work value classification and salary point, assessing employees during probation, providing safe and healthy work places, accessing entitlements such as reimbursement for work-related matters, attendance patterns, overtime, leave, training and development, study assistance, code of conduct, overtime, performance management, time off in lieu, discipline and termination.

You have tried to tell me some of those decisions are not made over the kitchen table. Stop pulling my leg! Are you trying to tell me that a pair of partners at home are not going to discuss elements of the employment at work? Stop kidding me! It is an unethical practice, and it is widely understood as an unethical practice. It is well understood as a practice which undoubtedly corrupts the scrutiny process, and this legislature ought to be free of it.

It surprised me, I have to say, in the course of the committee proceedings that none of the members who support the majority position were capable of bringing forward any information about how good a practice this would be for this Assembly, how great it would be for this place, how it would enhance our standing out there in the community and how it would make the community out there feel better when we are making sure that the salaries that we approve for our partners are going into family budgets. The community out there would love that! I can just imagine what they think when they see you buying petrol for the family car knowing full well that it is as a result of a decision that was made to employ a family person. That is not the sort of stuff that impresses our constituents.

It embarrasses me to stand here today and make a contribution to a majority report which encourages members to employ their family members. It encourages members to get themselves involved in nepotism because it is supposedly a positive thing to do, if the committee is to be believed. It is not a positive thing to do.

Mr Mulcahy: It doesn't encourage it; it just doesn't outlaw it.

MR BERRY: Mr Mulcahy interjects that it just does not outlaw it. It should be outlawed, because it is the sort of practice that brings a lot of us into disrepute. You


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