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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1492 ..


actions of both the ACT branch of the ALP and the national branch of the ALP. The fact that Mr Barr and Ms Gallagher have members of staff who occupy positions on the ACT branch of the ALP and its executive committee means that these members, and I think especially Mr Barr, have a material conflict of interest that must be dealt with.

Mr Barr, whilst being the member receiving and dealing with this report, has had a member of his staff who has dealt directly with the ALP side of this inquiry. That is a clear conflict of interest. I am not saying that anyone has done anything wrong, but it is a conflict of interest which must be dealt with according to the standing orders, and the standing orders in this case are very clear.

I need to reinforce that I am not accusing anyone of bad faith. But I am insistent that the standing orders be complied with. It is quite clear that Mr Barr and Ms Gallagher have a contract with someone, and that contract creates a conflict of interest in this case. It is not enough for the Labor Party to say, “The Liberal Party always say this about the Labor Party’s relationship with the Labor Club.” This is quite different. This is about employment contracts currently in place in the ACT.

The precedent already exists for members to be excluded from debates where employment contracts are in place. Mr Seselja was excluded from a debate in 2008 for the same reason, that he had a contract with someone and there may be a conflict of interest. Ms Gallagher and Mr Barr have contracts with people.

Mr Barr admitted in question time yesterday that he has contracts with somebody who is on the executive committee. That creates for him in this matter a clear conflict of interest and the Assembly must exclude him from this debate because of that conflict of interest. Ms Gallagher has a similar conflict of interest but I think that it is particularly the case that Mr Barr has a heightened conflict of interest because he is also the minister for gaming.

Ms Gallagher was the minister for gaming; so that conflict may have been heightened in the past. But Mr Barr has a particular conflict of interest that must be dealt with and Ms Gallagher does too, perhaps to a lesser extent. But those conflicts are clear. They are contractual and the standing orders clearly state that when that is the case this Assembly should deal with it by a motion, which I have moved, and the result of that is that members should be excluded from the debate.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.46): Mr Speaker, I think the question that is being put by the Liberal Party is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how this standing order operates. I will just go through this in a little bit of detail.

This standing order operates on the basis that a member who is a party to or has a direct or indirect interest in a contract made by or on behalf of the territory where that matter or question in this Assembly relates directly to that contract should not vote on the matter. What contract are we talking about? First of all, the contract is the contract presumably between Mr Barr and a member of his staff, and Ms Gallagher and a member of her staff. Is that the contract we are talking about?


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