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Registration of senator's interests

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John Hewson Leader of the Opposition M e d i a R e l e a s e

134/92 30 April 1992


The Prime Minister has today foreshadowed that the Government Leader in the Senate will seek leave to re-introduce a resolution providing for the registration and declaration of Senators' interests.

Given that the Democrats - standing, as they always do, for what is right - would have undoubtedly supported this resolution, one can only wonder why the Government has not already proceeded with the resolution since it introduced it into the Senate in 1987.

Nevertheless, I have a strong personal disposition in favour of disclosure in government and I support the existing arrangements for the declaration of Members' interests that operate in the Lower House. In short, I have strongly supported disclosure and established my bonafides.

The Government can introduce the resolution and our Senators will follow the usual procedure and make a decision in the Senate Party Room in due course.

However, nobody should be fooled by this, yet another

diversionary tactic by the Prime Minister.

The facts of this week are simple! Senator Richardson, as a Cabinet Minister, failed to meet the requirements of the Register of Ministers' Interests by failing to declare his directorship of Radio 2HD in the Register and failing to declare any interest

in Radio 2HD in Cabinet deliberations, while Cabinet considered important broadcasting and radio matters on a number of


In accepting Senator Richardson's explanation that this was "common knowledge" and did not need to be declared," the Prime Minister has made an absolute mockery of the entire procedure for declaration of Ministers' interests.

To have any credibility at all in his intention to re-introduce the resolution, the Prime Minister must immediately stand down Senator Richardson.