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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 2025 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

That the discussion paper entitled "A Parliamentary Ethics Adviser for the ACT Legislative Assembly" be referred to the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure for inquiry and report.

Mr Speaker, I have a brief statement which I seek leave to have incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows:

I am pleased to table a Discussion Paper concerning the appointment of an Ethics Commissioner for the Legislative Assembly, and to seek the Assembly's agreement to refer the Paper to the Standing Committee of Administration and Procedure for inquiry.

I believe discussion of this matter is timely, given the examination by the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure of a Code of Conduct for Members.

An Ethics Commissioner would complement a Members' Code of Conduct. A Commissioner would assist Members in identifying and managing potential ethical problems. The community would be assured that the high standards expected of Members of the Legislative Assembly are being upheld. In short, any Members' Code would be given substance.

The Discussion Paper outlines just one model for the appointment and role of a Parliamentary Ethics Commissioner. It is simply designed to stimulate discussion in the Assembly about this important subject.

However, some elements of this model are important. I do think the position of Ethics Commissioner should be independent and sit outside the political process. The appointment process should be designed to bring about the appointment of a Commissioner who is acceptable to all Members of the Assembly.

The role of the Commissioner should also be in keeping with the relatively small size of this Assembly.

The Commissioner should provide advice to individual Members in confidence. That confidentiality should be protected by legislation.

I look forward to the Assembly's consideration of the Discussion Paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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