Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 8 Hansard (7 August) . . Page.. 3020..
MR BERRY (continuing):
a party who may wish to scrutinise a member from another party or a member of the executive about issues of nepotism would have second thoughts about it if their party or they themselves had been involved in the practice. So it is far better to make sure that the practice does not occur. I go back to that point: if a member feels limited by this sort of behaviour, then the scrutiny process is damaged.
We need to set high standards of personal behaviour and, while the restriction on the employment of family members is a higher standard than set in the private sector, it should be maintained and strengthened. We are, after all, the people who scrutinise the executive about public expenditure; we are responsible as elected members of this place for some public expenditure ourselves. And it just does not wash out there in the community for us to be allocating some of those funds to family members, close family members—in fact, so close sometimes that it goes into the family budget.
Is our code good enough? I do not think it is. The history of the code has been incremental. I have had a great deal of pride in being able to improve the code over time and in some way influence things that have occurred here, but I think it has demonstrably failed in its aspirations because there is no requirement for members to observe it.
We have also adopted a resolution to create the position of an ethics and integrity adviser. This position has been filled, but it strikes me—and I go back to my original point—that the only way to root out this practice, improve the image of this legislature, improve the image of Assembly members and ensure the integrity of the legislature is to fundamentally change the way we approach this.
It is clear that having advisory codes is not strong enough. The only way to deal with the issue is to pass laws which make the practice unlawful. And I urge members to support this bill.
Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell ) adjourned to the next sitting.
Strategic and functional review of the ACT public sector and services
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.43): I move:
That this Assembly calls on the Chief Minister to table the Strategic and Functional Review of the ACT Public Sector and Services in the Assembly before the end of this sitting day.
I am very sorry that we are going to be having this debate in the absence of the Treasurer. Of course, I am also very sorry that the Treasurer has planned and timetabled the release of the state of the environment report for the ACT at a time when it is fairly clear that he should be here in the Assembly. The timing of that is very interesting, because I would also have liked to be at the launch of the state of the environment report. Where is the Treasurer and where has he been during all the calls that have been made from various bodies for the release of the functional review?