Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 7 April 2016) . . Page.. 1312 ..
principles, they are not too bad in the ministerial code of conduct: the minister should act with integrity, with honesty, with diligence, with transparency, with accountability, with fairness, with respect, with responsibility and with respect for the law and the administration of justice in the ACT.
Under that, this government would be found wanting in the ethical government of the ACT because it is just not happening. The burden is growing there; the weight is growing there; the evidence is certainly growing there. The Chief Minister will have his chance to respond, and it will be interesting to see whether we get some leadership here, whether we get a response worthy of those who purport to be the government of the ACT and the Chief Minister of the ACT. The evidence is there; the litany is there. The litany grows with a secretive government that has a lot of baggage, has a lot of burdens. That is not ethically governing the ACT.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Urban Renewal) (4.15): I welcome the opportunity to discuss the work that the government is doing to entrench ethical, transparent and merit-based government in the territory, and especially our efforts to rectify the shamefully poor and unethical decision-making of former ACT Liberal governments.
I must say that it is especially interesting that this matter is being brought forward by Mr Smyth, the sole remaining survivor of a government that had a greatest hits list of dodgy deals, sweetheart arrangements, mysterious use of public funds, overnight loans, breaches of the Financial Management Act, fleeing the scenes of accidents prior to police arrival, failing to mention their family ownership of certain shares when moving amendments on private members’ day that would benefit those particular shareholdings, an organisation—the Free Enterprise Foundation—that has been used to disguise political donations, the 500 Club and the notorious episodes in ACT Liberal history of trying to hide the source of donations.
I could go on and on, Madam Deputy Speaker. I could spend the rest of the afternoon highlighting the hypocrisy of Mr Smyth and others in seeking to raise ethics in this place. It may have been a long time ago that Mr Smyth was in government, but the absurdity of his decision-making and the actions of his ministerial colleagues at that time have long lived in Canberrans’ memories.
They can still rattle them off like they were yesterday. Painting the grass green and the futsal slab—all of those fiascos. There was the dodgy overnight loan that cost Kate Carnell her job for breaches of the Financial Management Act and the sweetheart deals, together with the breaches of the Financial Management Act. They all go to the heart of the ethics of those opposite.
It is also ironic to be lectured on the subject of ethics by a party that would set a new benchmark for public disclosure of matters by describing “on-water matters” as a bar to public scrutiny of actions like making corrupt payments to people smugglers and turning back unsafe boats in international waters. This is a party that is now defined by its capacity to go back on its fundamental promises regarding health and education and funding for public broadcasting. Remember no cuts to health, no cuts to schools, no cuts to the ABC, no cuts to the SBS?