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Tuesday, 1 February 1994
Page: 8


Dr HEWSON —My question is directed to the Prime Minister. He failed to answer the last question, so I ask him directly: does he endorse the standards of ministerial conduct laid down by his predecessor, Mr Hawke? Does the Prime Minister require his ministers to behave according to those standards?


Mr KEATING —I am not immediately familiar with the written word of those standards. I see probably no reason for any departure from them, but again I will have a look at them. The key point is the terms of reference, which I will avail myself of. But Mr Speaker, how unreal. The Leader of the Opposition comes in here and asks about the honourable member for Maribyrnong when, in his party room today, the honourable member for Barker asked Senator Bishop to declare that she would desist and not run against the Leader of the Opposition. After repeated questions to Senator Bishop, she would not desist from challenging the Leader of the Opposition. Some of the people in the Hewson camp said, `Let's bring on a ballot and clear this up once and for all', but they said, `No, we're not in a position to bring on a ballot'.

  Honourable members interjecting


Mr Beazley —So it was Steele Hall; big deal!


Mr KEATING —It was Steele Hall; so what! That is the state of the Leader of the Opposition. He is in here asking questions about the wording of standards written two or three years ago. That is beside the point. What is very clear is that there is a police investigation into these matters and any inquiry into the honourable member for Maribyrnong will be about his ministerial conduct and the terms of reference will be appropriate. But I think the Leader of the Opposition has more to worry about than that.