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Tuesday, 1 October 1974
Page: 1514


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media)

(   1 ) That the Senate concurs in the resolution transmitted to the Senate by message No. 69 of the House of Representatives relating to the appointment of a joint committee to inquire into and report whether arrangements should be made relative to the declaration of the interests of the members of Parliament and the registration thereof;

(   2 ) That the provisions of the resolution so far as they are inconsistent with the Standing Orders have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders;

(3)   That the foregoing resolution be communicated to the House of Representatives by message.

In moving that motion, I draw attention to the fact that my colleague the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Willesee) recently gave notice of motion which appears on page 2 of today's notice paper under Government Business, notices of motion. The terms of Senator Willesee 's notice of motion are as follows:

That the Senate is of the opinion-

(   1 ) That, in any debate or proceeding of the Senate or its Committees or transactions or communications which a Senator may have with other Members or with Ministers or servants of the Crown, he should disclose any relevant pecuniary interest or benefit of whatever nature, whether direct or indirect, that he may have had, may have or may be expecting to have.

(2)   That every Senator should furnish to the Clerk of the Senate such particulars of his pecuniary interests, supported by statutory declaration, as shall be required, and shall notify to the Clerk any alterations which may occur therein, and the Clerk shall cause these particulars to be entered in a register of Senators' interests which shall be available for inspection by the public.

(3)   That a Joint Committee should be appointed to inquire into and report on what arrangements need to be made to give effect to the above principles.

Senator Willeseewas to handle this matter on behalf of the Government. Of course, he is now in New York attending the meeting of the United Nations. As I understand the position, when the proposition in the terms that now appear on the notice paper was put in the House of Representatives it was amended to the form of the motion that is now the subject of consideration before the Senate; namely, that the Senate expresses its concurrence with the resolution that has been transmitted from the House of Representatives relating to the appointment of a Joint Committee. I emphasise those words. The proposal is that there should be a Joint Committee established to inquire into and report on whether arrangements should be made relative to the declaration of interests of members of Parliament and the registration thereof. The position at this stage is not that there should be arrangements made immediately, as would appear to be the situation outlined in Senator Willesee 's proposition, that there be immediately a register kept by the Clerk of the Senate. The proposition is that there be a Joint Committee established to inquire into and report on the types of arrangements that should be made relative to the declaration of the interests of the members of Parliament and the registration thereof.


Senator Webster - Is there anything on record in the House of Representatives or in the Senate that speaks of the interests of senators?


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - I have not perused the record of the House of Representatives.


Senator Webster - My understanding is that although it is dealt with in both Houses, at the moment it is confined to the interests of the members of the House of Representatives.


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -The honourable senator may be able to express his point of view -


Senator Webster - I was anxious to know whether we are now dealing with the interests of honourable senators as well as members of the House of Representatives.


Senator Withers - It is 'members of the Parliament'.


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -We are dealing with the interests of members of Parliament. 1 assume that senators are members of Parliament.


Senator Webster - Is that right? It is members of the Parliament.


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - It is directed to members of the Parliament. I do not know that there is much need for me to make further reference to the matter. I am given to understand that arrangements are made for members of the House of Commons in Westminster to declare any interests they might have in any matter that becomes the subject of debate in the Commons from time to time. We of the Government believe that this matter certainly should be closely looked at. It should be the subject of investigation by a Joint Committee of the Parliament consisting of representatives of both Houses of the Parliament who, meeting together, will determine whether arrangements should be made relative to the declaration of interests of members of Parliament. For Senator Webster's benefit, I emphasise the words 'members of the Parliament'. For those reasons, I have moved the motion in the terms that I have outlined to the Senate.







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