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It's on the table: Australian Democrats to pursue Labor's Code of Conduct commitment.

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                            Senator Andrew Murray

  Australian Democrats  

 
Accountability Spokesperson

IT'S ON THE TABLE

Australian Democrats to pursue Labor's

Code of Conduct commitment

The Australian Democrats today welcomed the Australian Labor Party's commitment to a Code of Conduct for Ministers and Members of Parliament.

Democrats' Accountability spokesperson, Senator Andrew Murray, commended the decision of Federal Opposition Leader, Kim Beazley, to announce Labor's support for a Code of Conduct during his Centenary of Federation address at State Parliament House in Melbourne.

"The Centenary of Federation celebrations have captured the attention and imagination of millions of Australian citizens. This is a wonderful window of opportunity for our political leaders to communicate with the public," Senator Murray said.

"I concur with Mr Beazley's statement that '…we should take one important step towards regaining the trust and respect of citizens and that is to commit ourselves to standards of conduct against which we are prepared to be judged, and adhere to them.  Codes of conduct are an obvious and important means of accomplishing this…'.

"A point of concern however, is that the word 'enforceable' is not connected to Mr Beazley's commitment to a Code of Conduct.  Howard's Code of Conduct is not enforceable and is not enforced.  Mr Beazley's Code of Conduct must be enforceable and must be enforced."

Senator Murray said Mr Beazley's commitment to a Code of Conduct during a time of heightened public interest in politics should ensure the code is placed high on the political agenda.  It is an issue the Australian Democrats will not allow to slide.

"It is now not a question of ' if '', but ' when ' an enforceable Code of Conduct for Ministers and Members of Parliament will be introduced into the Australian parliament," he said.

Senator Murray reiterated his May 2 offer to Mr Beazley to use his Private Senator's Bill, the Charter of Political Honesty Bill 2000, as a tool to enact his commitment to a Code of Conduct.

"My Private Senator's Bill is currently before a Senate Committee.  The Democrats offer the Bill to Mr Beazley as a means to demonstrate Labor's commitment to greater openness and accountability to the Australian public."

For further information and/or a copy of the Charter of Political Honesty Bill 2000 and the Second Reading Speech please contact Ainslee McCallum on (08) 9481 1455 (WST)