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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 7 April 2016) . . Page.. 1309 ..

We have a government party closely associated with an entity found to be seriously deficient by a royal commission. Some of those officers in that organisation have been charged. Some have been found guilty. Others have slipped away because of statutory limitations. It does raise the question about those who take money from organisations like that and whether or not they are acting in an ethical way.

The list just goes on and on. We saw the issue of the MOU just this week in question time and in the debate yesterday. It is okay because it is signed. It is okay because it has been there for a long time. But look at the ethical issue of handing over information to a union that does not deserve it: it has not been elected; it has not been appointed; it has just become the fourth arm of government. We have a government who have their strings pulled.

We saw it with Ms Berry in the debate on privacy legislation this morning. She would have been in cabinet when that bill went through cabinet. She could have voted against it. She could have voted against the bill this morning. But, as I said, the strings were pulled and the marionettes danced; she got up so that she could get on the record, so that she could go back to the unions and say, “Oh, I tried. I raised your concerns. Look at me.” You even ask whether that is ethical, whether that sort of behaviour meets the standard. There used to be a day when, if you did not agree with the bill or you could not live with it, you left cabinet. That apparently does not apply any longer.

There is the whole issue of the MOU. We had Mr Rattenbury trying to ease away from the issue by saying, “Oh, well, it’s really between the Labor Party and the unions.” The Labor Party has no right to give information to a union that belongs to the government, so that sort of excuse falters immediately. But, as was pointed out, in the very top line in the header it has, “ACT government”, and the signature block of the Chief Minister says, “Chief Minister of the ACT government”. It is that sort of answer and that sort of evasiveness that violate transparency, accountability, fairness and honesty. Ministers must act honestly at all times and be truthful in their statements.

Let me go on to matters concerning you, Madam Deputy Speaker, that were discussed also in a motion yesterday. We had those fantastic words from the Chief Minister that none of these people was employed by him as the person who employs people in ministerial offices. I guess in one sense that may be true. But what it did not say was whether or not some of those people were still employed in this building. You stand up and you give this impression that they have all gone. Yes, it is quite right; the Chief Minister does sign the employment contracts of those in the ministerial wing. But if you are not in the ministerial wing, he does not have an interest there. Where is the truth in that? There is very little.

We have looked at the poker machines in one instance, the conflict of interest, but then we saw the attempted sale of the ACT Labor clubs. How was that clear? Then there was the article about the Electoral Commission investigating the report of a $2.5 million donation from the Canberra Labor club. It is all cloudy, and you have to raise questions of integrity, openness and diligence in all of this.

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