You are here

Mr Brooks - Standards of Ministerial Behaviour

28 November 2018

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN.

Earlier when we asked what standard of ministerial behaviour would be low 
enough for you to act decisively, desperately flailing about, you went 
back to the turn of the century and a former Labor member who was charged 
and hauled before the court. Is that a pointer to your expected standard 
of behaviour? Will Mr Brooks have to face criminal charges for you to 
rule out inviting him back into your Cabinet?

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for the question. It was not that long 
ago and the standard we are talking about is what occurred within the time 
that both of us had been in this place. It was a most undesirable 
circumstance where Bryan Green conducted himself in a way that was serious 
enough to be considered a breach of the Criminal Code that would require 
him to submit to two trials, which I must point out did not return a 
verdict. They were inconclusive. Notwithstanding all of that, the former 
member for Braddon, Mr Green, was able to stay in this parliament. He did 
not resign. It was not expected of him by the Labor Party, and nor did it 
worry you when you were able to get yourself into government with the 
Labor Party and sit alongside him at the Cabinet table.

Ms O'CONNOR - Madam Speaker, point of order, on relevance. The Premier is 
desperately flailing about. Could he confirm that it would take criminal 
charges against Mr Brooks for him not to be considered for Cabinet in the 
foreseeable future?

Madam SPEAKER - That is another example of the weakness of standing order 
45. I ask the Premier to proceed.

Mr HODGMAN - Thank you, Madam Speaker. I point to the fact that the 
Integrity Commission has found in this instance that there was no material 
conflict or material advantage gained.

Ms O'Connor - Semantics. Weasel words.

Mr HODGMAN - Semantics? This is unbelievable hypocrisy and carelessness 
to the extreme. These are the findings of the Integrity Commission. No 
advantage was obtained by Mr Brooks, no conflict, no breach of the code. 
This is very different to what Mr Green went through, that standard that 
you accepted.

With respect to the other matters contained within the report, as I very 
clearly said that they do not meet my expectations. They do not afford Mr 
Brooks the opportunity now, nor has it afforded him the opportunity to be 
a member of the Cabinet. 

As to any further action that is taken with respect to this matter, it 
would be for independent authorities or any other members to determine 
what they wish to do. We are dealing here with the determination and the 
conclusion from the Integrity Commission, no less, which has been 
extraordinarily been dismissed by the member who asked the question as 
some sort of irrelevancy. Opposition members have suggested that we 
interfere in the business of the Integrity Commission. The member for 
Clark is now questioning the integrity of the Commission itself and its 
findings clearly by calling into question those findings. 

Ms O'CONNOR - Madam Speaker, point of order. I ask the Premier to 
withdraw that false and misleading statement.

Madam SPEAKER - Premier, the member for Clark has taken offence at your 
accusation. I ask that you respectfully withdraw it.

Mr HODGMAN - Madam Speaker, I withdraw it, but I consider it entirely 
unacceptable for the member who objects to assert that the Government 
interfered in the timing of the tabling of the report. The member said 
that publicly and it was reported. It is entirely untrue and questions 
the integrity of the Integrity Commission. It is an integrity commission 
that was established under a former Labor government and has been 
supported since. 

I recall former premier David Bartlett saying that he feared a time when 
the Integrity Commission would be used for political purposes. The former 
premier would be looking with disfavour on what is occurring now because 
that is exactly what has happened. We have had a direct plea from the 
Integrity Commission. In their annual report they said that the spurious 
and publicly made statements about the operations of the commission - 
indeed, references to it - are undermining its independence, politicising 
the process and deliberately damaging reputations. 

We know that is all you are interested in. You want to damage people's 
reputations. If that means you have to call into question the operation 
of the Integrity Commission, then you will do that.

Members of the Labor Party have quite willingly declared that they are 
referring a matter to the Integrity Commission. Even though the Integrity 
Commission regrets that sort of conduct, I am sure it will continue. They 
are the depths the Labor Party have stooped to; they ignore requests of 
the Integrity Commission and, as former premier Bartlett said, use it for 
political purposes. 

We respect the findings of the Integrity Commission. We will respond to 
these matters appropriately as we have done.