Page 3271 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 23 August 2017

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Ministers regularly report to the Assembly. Generally speaking on the first available sitting period after a trip, inside the 90 days that Mr Wall was talking about, lengthy statements are tabled in this place. Often speeches of 20 to 25 minutes in length go through almost minute by minute in some instances the detail of particular international missions.

There are, of course, twice yearly ministerial travel reports provided to the Office of the Legislative Assembly, and they are publicly available on the Assembly website. It would be fair to say they are routinely reported on by those who take an interest in this place.

My amendment also notes that what prompted this particular motion from Mr Wall was that the Remuneration Tribunal in 2014, following inconsistencies in usage and reporting by members on international travel, abolished study travel for non-executive members. I think it is fair to say that at the same time the Remuneration Tribunal also abolished any travel for partners of members of the Assembly. These issues were extensively canvassed at that time.

I think it would be fair to observe, from that process, that the pub test that Mr Wall talked about in his speech was applied by the Remuneration Tribunal, particularly in relation to partner travel. There were certainly some fairly egregious examples in the history of this Assembly—or there were in the first 20 years—of partner travel on study trips which might well not have passed the pub test that Mr Wall spoke of.

In the context of where we are now, the Remuneration Tribunal has ruled in relation to those matters. The ministerial code of conduct was updated. Ministerial travel is reported twice annually. All ministerial travel undertaken overseas requires the approval of the Chief Minister of the day. Ministerial travel under my chief ministership is focused on enhancing the government’s international engagement strategy.

We have published our priority areas and relationships that we seek to pursue for economic, social and cultural outcomes. These vary depending on the nature of the relationship. Members would be aware that we currently have three sister city relationships, with Beijing, Nara and Wellington, and a friendship city relationship with Dili in East Timor. The bulk of international travel in recent times has been focused on the international engagement strategy.

From time to time ministers are invited to participate in various international conferences. I note that non-executive members are also invited to participate in various international conferences, and I note from recent travel reports published on the Assembly website that members of this place are frequent in their acceptance particularly of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association international travel.

I need to advise the Assembly that all ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the relevant Remuneration Tribunal determination. The determination recognises officeholders will be required to travel more regularly than non-officeholders. But, again, the bulk of that travel is domestic and principally relates to Council of Australian Government requirements.

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