Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 31 July 2018) . . Page.. 2458 ..
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Standing order 156 is essentially in the same terms as section 15 of the self-government act, as I recollect. For the information of members who may not have heard Mr Wall, this relates to whether or not a member may have a direct or indirect conflict of interest in relation to the standing orders. The members’ code of conduct, at continuing resolution 5, talks more generally about codes of conduct. It is the case that at various times members in this place have expressed their affiliation with particular unions. Could you expand, Mr Wall, on what you are seeking to achieve in raising this point of order at this stage? I want to seek the indulgence of members, because this is a slightly complex constitutional issue.
Mr Wall: I am happy to state a case, but the concern here is that, given that this does not relate specifically to a contract, the code of conduct is probably the more relevant article as to whether or not the conflicts of interest that appear on the record, on the members register, and that have been proclaimed in the debate on this matter, do in fact contravene those elements of the members code of conduct or the self-government act should the member partake in a vote and/or division on this matter.
Clearly this legislation conveys significant new powers on trade unions broadly. I note that all members of the government are members. This legislation relates specifically to the construction industry. Therefore, I refer to the construction union, being the CFMEU, which two members have declared that they are a member of.
I understand that this is uncharted territory. Perhaps a course of action might be that the debate on this matter is adjourned until members and the Assembly—and appropriately, I would suggest, the Speaker—have had time to consider the matter more broadly.
Ms Stephen-Smith: I would like to note that, as Mr Wall has acknowledged, there is no mention in this bill of a specific union. There are a range of unions that are involved in the construction industry, and this bill does not identify a single one of them.
I understand, in any case, that Ms Cody and Mr Pettersson have previously had advice on this matter. I will let Ms Cody speak on that, but I fail to understand how two members on this side of the chamber could have a conflict. All of us on this side of the chamber, in my understanding, are members of a union or more than one union. This bill does not specify any specific union.
As I have mentioned in my speech previously, work health and safety laws recognise unions as legitimate parties in protecting workers’ rights, particularly around work health and safety. They have a legitimate role to play under the current act, and they will continue to have a legitimate role to play in protecting worker health and safety as permit holders under the national harmonised laws that we operate under.
Ms Cody: On the point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker, following on from Ms Stephen-Smith, I will not speak for Mr Pettersson, but I have received advice. I have declared that I am a member of not only the CFMEU but the Community and