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Richardson makes a mockery of conflict of interest rules: Hill



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR ROBERT HILL LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Wednesday, April 29 39/92

RTHHAWnSON MAKES A MOCKERY OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST RULES; HILL

The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Robert Hill, today said Senator Richardson had made a complete mockery of the Federal Government's own conflict of interest rules.

"Under the Government's own guidelines on Ministers' company directorships, Senator Richardson clearly should not have held a directorship of the radio station 2HD," Senator Hill said.

"Senator Richardson flouted guidelines specifically designed to avoid potential Ministerial conflicts of interest.

"The Minister tried to confuse the issue today by admitting that he should have declared his directorship in the Register of Ministers' Interests.

"In his letter of apology to the Prime Minister he tried to

explain that he failed to note his directorship in the Register because he did not believe he needed to declare such an interest if it was not a source of income.

"But any reading of the Register reveals that it is a 'statement of registrable interests', not pecuniary interests.

"Senator Richardson clearly should have declared his directorship under Section 4, headed 'Registered Directorships of Companies'.

"The Minister failed to reveal his directorship when he was given a second chance in the Register - under Section 14, headed: 'Any other interests where a conflict of interest with a member's public duties could foreseeably arise or be seen to arise.'

"But this problem would not have arisen if Senator Richardson had complied with the guidelines and not accepted the directorship in the first place - as Mr Keating should have acknowledged in his statement today.

"Mr Keating's statement shows that, at best, he doesn't

understand his own Government's guidelines, and that he has tried to fudge the issue by concentrating on the irrelevant fact that Senator Richardson apparently wasn't paid for his directorship.

"Senator Richardson has made a complete mockery of the

Government's own conflict of interest rules."

(ends)

Enquiries: Senator Hill pr Mark Batistich on (06) 277 3170

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH