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Premier Accepts Unethical Conduct of His Ministers

16 June 2016

Thursday 16 June 2016

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN

[10.06 a.m.]

The ministerial code of conduct is clear.  It states:

Ministers are expected to behave according to the highest ethical standards in the performance of their duties, as they hold a position of trust.  Ministers must commit themselves to the highest ethical standards to maintain and strengthen the democratic traditions of our state and its institutions.

Isn't it a fact that so far two of your ministers, Mr Brooks and Mr Groom, have either not read or chosen to ignore the code of conduct in that, in knowingly misleading Parliament as by their dishonesty, they are not upholding high ethical standards and are therefore in breach of the code and have betrayed the trust of Tasmanians?  Is that the standard you are prepared to accept?

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question and confirm that all my ministers have read the ministerial code of conduct; all have ascribed to it and all adhere to its requirements.  With respect, as we have outlined ad nauseum, Mr Brooks, on realising his inadvertent error in response to questions sought to correct the record as soon as practicable and as is required by parliamentary practice and convention.

I will briefly take the opportunity to remind the member who asked the question that on a number of occasions members of her own Labor-Greens government, on realising they had misled Parliament also took the opportunity to correct the record.  On a number of occasions it was hours and hours later.  In Mr Brooks' case it was a matter of minutes later.  This Government adheres to the ministerial code of conduct and all ministers will continue to ascribe to it. 

The member who asks the question was part of a government that not only was forced to correct the record on a number of occasions but, as we have discussed at length this week, was subject to several inquiries and investigations by authorities such as the Auditor-General in relation to the conduct and operations of the former government, and which independently found very negative things with respect to how the Labor-Greens governments have operated. 

Ms O'Connor - When?

Mr HODGMAN - Under minister Lin Thorp; we can go through it all again.

Opposition members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  It is not a time for debate.

Mr HODGMAN - There were a number of occasions where the Auditor-General was required.  There were certainly a lot more under former Labor governments.  Your coalition colleagues were investigated at least 10 times within a relatively short period.  We will not take lectures from members opposite but I assure Tasmanians who are genuinely interested in this matter that we adhere to the code of conduct.