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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3443 ..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

I support the motion, and Mr Humphries's amendment, but as Minister for Business I hope that, when this committee gets the code of ethics together, for personal political reasons people who are involved in small business are not precluded from continuing to have some involvement, albeit not directly. I mention, and it was laughed at before, the classic example of John Anderson. I have spoken to John, so he does not mind my saying this because it has been said before. John Anderson, the Minister for Primary Industries, happens also to continue to own the family farm. Does that mean that, because he has been appointed as Minister for Primary Industries - - -

Mr Berry: He should not have been the Minister for Primary Industries.

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Berry says that he should not have been the Minister for Primary Industries. Let him sell the family farm because the community happens to have elected him as a Minister. What utter nonsense! Okay, let us pick someone on the other side. How many lawyers does Mr Berry know who are members of the Federal Parliament and of the Labor Party and who continue to have an interest in the law and practise the law? There is no response. There are some that I know of, I have to tell you.

Ms McRae: Not the Attorney-General.

MR DE DOMENICO: No, not the Attorney-General, that is right.

Mrs Carnell: Because he has not got time.

MR DE DOMENICO: As Mrs Carnell says, he has not got time. There are others who come to mind. There is Mr Keating, a former Prime Minister. I recall that when he was Prime Minister he also had shares in a farm. He sold it when he got a good price for it, and that is his prerogative. But nothing was said about that. I am happy to support this, but let us make sure we take into account that it helps this place if we have experience across the whole range of the community and if we do it sensibly. Let us not come from left field or from right field; let us do it sensibly. Let us not get tempted into trying to play the personal political game.

That is all I have to say, Mr Speaker. I think we have to be very sensible and very careful on this, and I say that very passionately. Unless we are sensible, we will be back here again having an argy-bargy across the floor of the house, calling each other names, and I think that denigrates the house more than anything else.

MS TUCKER (11.48): We support this amendment, and I would like to respond quickly to Mr Humphries's response to what I said before. I do not condone personal attacks from either side. It was not particularly that I was pointing out the inappropriateness of Mrs Carnell's comments in this debate today. I hope the committee will come out with something that will cause this not to be an issue again. I restate that the Liberal Party is doing exactly the same thing with committee membership in this place. The fact that it is not public is a very odd distinction to make.

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