Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 August 2008) . . Page.. 2811 ..
Legal Affairs—Standing Committee (performing the duties of a Scrutiny of Bills and Subordinate Legislation Committee)—Scrutiny Report 57, dated 28 July 2008, together with the relevant minutes of proceedings.
I seek leave to make a brief statement.
MR STEFANIAK: Scrutiny report 57 contains the committee’s comments on 14 bills, 18 pieces of subordinate legislation and five government responses. The report was circulated to members when the Assembly was not sitting. I commend the report to the Assembly.
Administration and Procedure—Standing Committee
MR BERRY (Ginninderra): I present report 4 of the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure entitled Review of code of conduct for members, including a dissenting report, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.
MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (10.36): I move:
That the report be adopted.
The issue here today is the code of conduct for members. The heart of the issue is employing family members. No doubt Mr Berry will be talking about that at some length. There is probably little to say on this except that we have a code of conduct for members and it centres on employing the best person for the job. I know that the opposition have a position where they have not employed close family members. It has been different for different members in this place but there are things that have been said around this.
I was particularly interested to read some comments on a British blog. A gentleman by the name of Mr Chichester, Giles Chichester, said:
Elected members employ their spouses because it is good to work closely with people that know the life and the duties of parliamentarians well and who can be trusted.
That is really at the heart of this. By saying that we should enshrine something in legislation that is very prescriptive, we are actually saying that members in this place and other parliaments cannot be trusted.
We also see this. As I pointed out, I have had some thoughts about why this would be a good thing and why it would be a bad thing. If we are going to restrict who people can or cannot employ in this place, it is perfectly possible for family members to be paid out of the public purse by gaining employment at a local or federal level. Where are we going to stop with this?