Hansard . . Page.. 57 ..
People in those circumstances certainly hold some responsibilities. Those responsibilities are to behave in an appropriate fashion pertaining to their office but also to behave in a fashion which will not give rise to the perception of a conflict of interest in respect of their own Minister. I think it is for that reason that there is every reason why Ministers' staff should be added to the scope that is covered by this code of conduct. Indeed, I understand, Mr Speaker, that members of the staff of Ministers of this Government are more than willing to place themselves under the terms of this code of conduct. Ms Follett made reference to the fact that no consultation with affected unions concerning ministerial staff was made. Indeed, that is true. The reason is very simple. None of the staff affected belong to any affected union. That seems a fairly good reason not to apply the code to them.
Mr Speaker, it is true that this code does not add anything to the conduct of non-Executive members. Ms Follett, if she wishes to, may seek to move something in this place to extend the parameters of this code to those people. I welcome her late-found and recently discovered interest in extending it to other members of the Assembly. Since they very largely fall within her bailiwick as Leader of the Opposition, she might very well like to impose some code on members of her Opposition team. I am sure that when she does so we will all be interested to see what kind of code is applied and how it affects everybody else and would be, I am sure, keen to match the terms of our code with the terms of her code if she wants to table one.
As to what other members of the Assembly might wish to do, it is really a matter for members of the Assembly themselves or for the Assembly as a whole to impose. We should talk at some stage about how - if we wish to - we extend the terms of this code. But the point is, Mr Speaker, that there is a code now in place. It goes considerably further than the mere declaration of members’ interests, and that is why we have taken this step to do this. It is a significant step which I hope members, rather than denigrating, will be supporting as a higher benchmark than, as far as I am aware, other parliaments in Australia are able to attain and a higher benchmark which I hope we can attempt to suggest that other parliaments might like to follow and emulate.
Mr Berry: Perhaps you need it. Do you have a guilty conscience or something?
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Berry interjects that he hopes that we can meet this high standard. Mr Berry's interest obviously is generated by recent events. He and his colleagues have made reference to suppression orders.
Ms McRae: Which we are not talking about.
MR HUMPHRIES: You have talked about it. You have spoken about interjections in the course of this Assembly, and Hansard will show such interjections before this point. I only want to remind members of the Assembly very briefly at this juncture, Mr Speaker, that the legislation whereby such orders are made is legislation that was introduced into this place by the Labor Party. It is legislation that was supported effusively at the time by members of the Assembly. Presumably, when the legislation was tabled, it was intended that everybody affected by it - everybody either making or subject to complaints to the Discrimination Commissioner - might be able to take advantage of its provisions.