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The Beazley / Transfield connection

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Mr Syd Hickman, ex-senior private secretary (Industrial) to the Minister for Defence, Kim Beazley, left the Minister's office on 28th September 1988 to become the Managing Director of Arvin Consultancy - a registered lobby group for TRANSFIELD established on the 31st October 1988.

This was confirmed by Senator Button in answer to a question raised by Senator Newman, in the Senate on 9th June 1989.

" Firstly, Mr Hickman was employed as a Senior Private Secretary by the Minister for Defence until October 1988. Secondly, Arvin Consultancy Pty Ltd., of which Syd Hickman is Managing Director, is registered as a lobbyist for the TRANSFIELD group, of which Australian Marine Engineering Consolidated Ltd. (AMECON) is a member. AMECON is one of the two consortia competing for the Anzac ship project."

Senator Newman asked whether the Government agreed that this situation had the appearance of providing inside information to one of the tenderers. In answer Senator Button stated "Of course that is a potential area of conflict of interest and concern."

Senator Newman also asked whether the Government had given any consideration to determine the conditions under which those in Government positions can take up employment in industry when they have been privy to confidential and/or classified


Senator Button stated that " Public service procedures require Commonwealth officers in sensitive positions to seek assent before taking up outside employment. These procedures do not have application to Ministerial staff. However, in Mr Hickman's case the general principles applied to public servants appear to have been followed."

On the 16th of June Senator Newman asked further questions relating to Syd Hickman and his involvement in the Anzac Frigate Project, these questions remain unanswered after three months.

Why has it taken Mr Beazle; ’ ‘ :he following:



SENATOR NEWMAN: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for / Defence—

(1) With reference to my question without notice of 9 June 1989 concerning a former member of the Minister for Defence's staff, Mr Syd Hickman, and the answer given by Senator Button on 9 June 1989, and given Australian Public Service procedures requiring Commonwealth officers in sensitive positions to seek approval before taking up outside employment, did the Minister for Defence approve this move. ·

(2) When did Mr Hickman inform the Minister for Defence that he was to ' establish Arvin Consultancy P/L. ·

(3) When Arvin Consultancy P /L was registered as a lobbyist for the Transfield Group, was Mr Hickman's previous sensitive position taken . into account.

(4) Does Arvin Consultancy now have contact or dealings with the Minister for Defence's office, or any other Minister's office; if so, what is the nature and scope of this contact.

(5) In what other areas of defence-related work, apart from the Anzac frigate project, is this consultancy involved.

(6) Was M r Hickman formally advised of his obligations under Commonwealth law to avoid breaches of confidence and conflicts of interest; if so, by whom. ·

Minister Beazley speaking last night on the Adjournment said of the frigate tendering project " what is not arguable in this process is that it was a process of integrity."

How can the Minister's claim be accepted as credible in light of the current Halfpenny allegations and the unanswered questions about one of his former staff.

For further information contact Senator Jocelyn Newman or Jeannie Cameron in Canberra on 062-773660.