Page 3785 - Week 12 - Thursday, 24 October 2013
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.45): I indicate at the outset that we will be supporting both the amendment and the motion as amended. All of us in this place would agree that we should be held to high standards of behaviour and probity. It is my belief that the members of this place and the members that have gone before us have a very good reputation for having done that.
This motion today and the amendment update the code of conduct. So, in essence, this is not something new. As the Chief Minister outlined, this is something that is updating and refreshing that code. And it is important that we do that. Although in my view we have a good record in this place on these matters, it is important that we be vigilant, and it is important that members of this place be reminded of our responsibilities when it comes to issues of probity in our standards.
The Chief Minister has outlined the case well. I will not duplicate her words, but I indicate that we will be supporting the amendments because what they do, in effect, is remove the duplication and the ambiguity that existed in the original motion. I would like to express my thanks to the Chief Minister for her cooperation with regard to the amendment, which I think does go some way to improving the original motion that was moved in this place.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.47): If members agree, I will speak to the amendment and close the debate. I thank members for their support for the revised code of conduct. It is valuable to update a document such as this from time to time. That was a recommendation that arose out of both the McLeod report and the work undertaken by Mr Skehill, our ethics and integrity adviser. Through that, they both identified there were areas that could be updated and clarified in a more modern context, and that it was time for a refresh.
I commenced this work in the last term, in my capacity as Speaker, and I am pleased to bring it to fruition today, more than 12 months later. It has taken us some time but we are finally here.
I do welcome that support. I think it is very necessary to have an up-to-date document, and one that does reflect the current thinking. Even though the old one was, if I recall correctly, probably not more than a decade old, from time to time the particular wording and how that is understood does change.
I want to reflect on some of the amendment because it is very interesting to see how members perceive issues and what should be in, and, perhaps even more interestingly, what should be out of, a code of conduct. With respect to the amendment that Ms Gallagher put forward, it was agreed by Mr Hanson that it contains some interesting textual changes. The first is that the original motion proposed the use of the word “will” and it is now replaced with the word “should”. For example, “Members ‘will’ at all times act with integrity, honesty and diligence,” has been replaced with “Members ‘should’ act with integrity, honesty and diligence.” I am glad it is optional for everybody and I hope that makes members feel more comfortable, because that is clearly something that was required in order to get agreement to move this forward.