Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1500 ..
conflict because of their rules. There are members here, there are members of the Greens. If we were not, we would be very poor representatives of the community, quite frankly. We would not have our networks intact. We would not have a track record of community service if we did not have those board involvements.
I know that, with possibly a few exceptions of members in this place, almost all of us have served on a board and have an affection for a board and, therefore, want to help progress the board’s aims and objectives because that is what is in their essential being.
We have got to draw the line somewhere. This is a very small parliament. It is drawn from people who live in this town and in this district. It is not drawn from people all over a massive great state somewhere else. We need to draw a line here. The distinction between a benefit to the member has to be drawn.
A full member of the Labor club would actually be asked to vote on that sale. If I were a full member of the Labor club, does that mean I have a conflict of interest here? I would argue no.
The other thing too—and this is a really important point—is that there has to be proven to be a conflict of interest and, when the conflict of interest is applied, there has to be some gain to the member, some favour, a service, a return. And I do not see one in this case. There is nothing. There has been nothing demonstrated by Mrs Dunne to suggest that anything that either of these two ministers have done in the discharge of their duties would return anything of favour to them in this particular matter by the actions of their staff.
Remember, this whole thing turns on what their staff would do. We have got to be a bit careful that we do not prevent somebody from being engaged in a political activity because that is their right under our Human Rights Act and under antidiscrimination laws.
I would urge that we actually proceed to a vote on this. I regret that, when we actually created the terms of reference for the ethics commissioner, we did not install a clause that the Speaker could be empowered by the Assembly to seek that advice. I think that was possibly something missing, and we might like to consider addressing that at another stage.
Mrs Dunne: I think there is a little impasse here, and I do not particularly want to close the debate. Could I seek leave to speak again without closing?
MR SPEAKER: Members, is it the wish of the Assembly that I vacate the chair for 10 minutes to enable you to sort this out? That being so, the sitting is suspended.
Sitting suspended from 11.13 to 11.32 am.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.32), by leave: We are in uncharted waters here and I thank members for being very cooperative in this matter. I think there is a general resolution that there are a number of unanswered and difficult questions and members