Page 3789 - Week 12 - Thursday, 24 October 2013
This motion arises from a recommendation that came out of the various reviews of the code of conduct, which suggested that at the start of each term there should be a motion moved for all members to reaffirm their commitment to the code. In some ways, that would seem like a seemingly obvious thing to do. At the time the work was being done and when the recommendation came forward it certainly made sense to me that it was an opportunity for members to reflect on the code of conduct. For those who are returning members at the start of an Assembly it will probably be a bit of a refresh. It is the sort of thing that many members would pick up at the start of a term when they first come here, read it, and then not come back to it unless a particular issue arose. So the express act of having to affirm a commitment to it is a good way to refresh ourselves and be reminded of the standard that we are seeking to hold ourselves to. For those new members who are coming to the place it is an opportunity to explicitly turn their minds to it.
That is really what this motion is about. It is a very simple one. It says that we, the current members of the Assembly, have explicitly turned our mind to this, we remain comfortable with this as the appropriate version of the code of conduct and we wish to adhere to the standard that is set out—or there may be an example where it has not operated effectively or we feel it is time to add something or remove something that no longer seems appropriate. Having this explicit moment at the start of each Assembly is, again, a trigger to make sure that we consider those matters.
It is some time since the start of the Assembly. Nonetheless, in the spirit of the recommendation that was given to us, I have proposed that we move this motion today. Given the earlier discussion, I imagine members will be open to supporting this. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.00): The opposition will be supporting this motion in the sense that it is an affirmation of what we have all agreed to in this place but, in doing so, I will reflect on some of the comments that Mr Rattenbury made in closing with regard to the code of conduct. I think it is illustrative that he chose in this place, in what has been, I think, a pretty collegiate debate to try and make sure that we have a code of conduct that is befitting us all, to use it as an opportunity to try and run a political smear campaign against federal coalition members. I find it extraordinary. I think it is remarkable that at the same time that he is talking about behaviour in this place he then chooses to try and use that very same speech as an opportunity to mount some sort of political attack on federal parliamentarians from the coalition.
It is illustrative perhaps of the fact that he is clutching at straws in doing so that the only incident of poor behaviour in his mind that he could find from members of this place was that when he misspoke in this place there was, as I recall, some good-humoured banter about that. It was late at night. It was at a time when we were closing the debate on the budget, and I remember members on all sides having some good-natured banter. If the only incident that Mr Rattenbury can find of poor behaviour is good-natured banter that he has been a little bit precious about then I think it is illustrative that, as members, we are doing the right thing in this place. Trying to generate some sense that there is a problem where there is not I think is disingenuous.