Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1596 ..
However, in discussion with the Greens, the government’s view is that this motion can be supported today insofar as it is an attempt to look more broadly at the issue of conflict of interest, in general terms, in the Assembly and how the matter should be managed in the Assembly context. We note that the motion does not refer to particular circumstances or particular members and that, instead, it is casting a broad net across all members, all staff of members and any potential circumstance where there may or may not be a conflict of interest. In particular, I would point to point 1(c) of the motion, which says very clearly and which is all-encompassing:
any conflicts of interest that may arise as a result of Members’ interests, direct or indirect, in any licence, payment, contract, lease or other transaction issued under Territory law;
The government’s view is that it does need to be that comprehensive. If we are to seriously have an examination of the issue of conflict of interest, it must be broad ranging, it must look at all potential circumstances where there may be such a conflict. This particular provision of the motion deals with that.
We still have hanging over us the question of the motion from Mrs Dunne, and I foreshadow that the government will be seeking to bring debate back on that motion today, to permit that question to be dealt with, because these two matters are not directly connected. One is not contingent on another, in that this motion is not an investigation into Mr Barr or Ms Gallagher; this motion is an investigation into the question of how the Assembly interprets and looks at the issue of conflict of interest more broadly.
It is on that basis that the government is supporting this motion today, albeit with some hesitation. That is the government’s position, and I foreshadow that is what the government will seek to do once this motion is determined.
At 6.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.00): This whole thing has turned into a bit of a farrago, it seems. This motion, which Ms Hunter says is the final form, is news to the opposition because, when Ms Hunter rose to her feet to begin this debate, I understand that there were still negotiations going on between the Greens’ offices and the office of the Leader of the Opposition. So I am not quite sure how this can be a final form.
This is a somewhat flawed process, as described here, and it does not actually get to the heart of the matter, which is: do ministers who make decisions in relation, in this case, to gaming machine licences have a conflict of interest if they have staff, senior staff, who are subject to investigation into matters relating to gaming machine licences? That was the crux of this. That was the motion that I moved this morning. Ms Hunter’s attempt, a valiant attempt, this morning to resolve the situation was that we would call on the Speaker to seek advice from the ethics adviser about that matter.