Page 3788 - Week 12 - Thursday, 24 October 2013

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MADAM SPEAKER: I think that while members may be uncomfortable about the allusions, it is pretty much a common discussion at the moment about members’ behaviour. It seems that the member cannot draw examples from the ACT Assembly, but I think that it is reasonable to reflect on how the code of conduct might impact in other places, and draw examples from that. I would ask Mr Rattenbury to be mindful that this is about the code of conduct for ACT members.

MR RATTENBURY: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I do not intend to labour the point. I was just about to move on and say that, if that is the standard, for ACT members, if I were to go to the movies on a Friday night and some constituent approached me, it begs the question: would I be able to claim my movie ticket because somebody dared to come up and talk to me about a TAMS matter while I was there? That is the same logic that was used to justify that claim, and that is where I think we do need to be both very clear in setting out what our rules are and think more carefully about the way that we seek to undertake these expenses.

Those were a couple of extreme examples. I think that most members of the community have seen them as preposterous. Yet members of parliament have claimed as they saw fit. Those sort of examples actually belittle all institutions of parliament across the country. I think all of us need to be mindful of not using our parliamentary expenses to fly off to the other side of the country to buy an investment property—another recent example that we have seen.

I thank members for their support of the elements that we have included. I am intrigued by some of the areas that members have felt uncomfortable with. Someone might suggest that that was the drafting. But if there is discomfort with the drafting, that is always amendable.

Nonetheless, I think we have made a step forward today in refreshing our code of conduct. We will come back to this in a moment with further discussion. But I will be supporting the amendment, in the sense that whilst I disagree with some of the elements that are removed, overall we take a step forward with refreshing this code of conduct. I thank members for their support of those elements they were able to support.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Legislative Assembly—members code of conduct

Members’ commitment

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.57): I move:

That we, the Members of the Eighth Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory, having adopted a Code of Conduct for Members, reaffirm our commitment to the principles, obligations and aspirations of the code.

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