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Code of Conduct

29 November 2018
Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr WOODRUFF - Ms Butler went out. Well done, that is really good to hear.

Mr Deputy Speaker, what we need now is for the Labor and Liberal parties 
to not only listen but take action, which means having an end to coal-
fired power stations by 2030. That is the sort of thing we need to do. 
We can agree to disagree on the environment but the Greens are here to 
talk about process and proper scrutiny. Let us face it, we do not trust 
that the level of scrutiny will be sufficient without a member of the 
Greens on that committee. It is quite clear that we have been consistent 
on the issues of integrity in this parliament. 

This motion is about changing the standing orders to add the code of 
conduct, and I completely support the comments made by Ms White. The only 
reason this is here before us today is because members of Labor and the 
Greens on the Integrity Committee have been making consistent noises and 
pushing this along for years. I sat on the Integrity Committee with Lara 
Giddings when she was there and it was only the two of us who were pushing 
and pushing to keep the recommendation of the Integrity Commission to 
bring it to life. 

So here we are today. The committee agreed on this code of conduct in the 
middle of last year. We could have finished it and it could have been 
brought before parliament before the state election. What a surprise, it 
got pushed off until after the state election because - shock, horror - 
the Liberals in government could not possibly throw everything into such 
confusion by giving members an extra responsibility in terms of their code 
of conduct before an election. 'Oh, no, let's just leave it. We would 
not want to presume to speak for a new parliament.' There were incredible 
faux excuses that were made as a way of justifying why we could not bring 
this in last year. The same document has been sitting there for over a 
year. Meanwhile we have members of the Government, ministers, behaving 
with an extreme lack of integrity, misconduct and, as we know, repeated 
lies from some of them, not telling the truth or lying by omission. 

We had silence from minister Courtney about her relationship, but 
meanwhile she and the secretary of her department were both merrily 
signing off fish farm expansions and biosecurity issues. Who knows what 
else was happening during that period? We have never had a proper 
investigation into the decisions that were taken by minister Courtney in 
that period of time and whether there was a conflict. There was an 
investigation done. I just have to speak from first principles. It is 
hard to feel confident that it was rigorous enough in the questions asked 
because it was during that period while the Premier was acting as the 
minister for Primary Industries that he signed off an approval for the 
Storm Bay fish farm expansion. It is clear that there is no set of rules 
governing probity, accountability, assessment, proper independent 
investigations. We have had a score of these happening over the last 
couple of years. It is a shameful situation today that this Government 
finds itself in, which is why it is really important that we have a code 
of conduct not just for ministers but for every member of parliament.

On the amendment itself, of course we support expanding the level of 
scrutiny on the Privileges Committee. There is no doubt that seven 
members would be better than five in almost any circumstance of an 
investigation. More eyes, more questions, more points of view can only be 
a good thing. When something is referred to the Privileges Committee it 
is only because it is an extremely serious allegation that has to be 
investigated so that all members of parliament can feel confident that the 
outcome has been properly considered and confident in the decisions of the 
committee. Therefore it makes complete sense to have all parties 
represented on that committee and the Greens ought to have a position 
there because we have been standing in this parliament for decades, 
speaking up for process and integrity. The Tasmanian people can be 
confident that if there is a Greens member on the committee, that 
committee will have had a good, red-hot shot at an investigation coming to 
an independent, well-scrutinised and fair conclusion.