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Members' Interests - House of Representatives Standing Committee - Report relating to - Registration requirements, dated 18 September 1985


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The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

H O U SE OF REPRESENTATIVES STANDING COM MITTEE OF M EM BERS’ INTERESTS

Report relating to the registration requirements

Presented and ordered to be printed 8 October 1985

Parliamentary Paper No. 305/1985

Parliamentary Paper No. 305/1985

The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES STANDING COMMITTEE OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS

Report relating to the registration requirements

The Commonwealth Government Printer Canberra 1985

© Commonwealth of Australia 1985

ISBN 0 644 04522 1

Printed by Authority by the Commonwealth Government Printer

COMMITTEE OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS

Membership

Dr R.E. Klugman, M.P. (Chairman)

Hon . A.E. Adermann, M. P.

Hon . N.A. Brown, Q.C. , M.P. (1) Mr D.M. Cameron, M.P.

Mr L. Kent, M.P.

Mr E.J. Lindsay, R.F.D ., M.P.

Mr M.J. Maher, M.,P.

Mr J.M. Spender, Q.C., M.P. (2)

C r k_jto_jbhe_Cornm i t tee

Mr L.M. Barlin

(1) Resigned 10 September 1985

(2) Appointed 10 September 1985

REPORT

1. Under the terms of standing order 28A, a

Committee of Members' interests shall be appointed

at the commencement of each Parliament -

(a) to inquire into and report upon the arrange­

ments made for the compilation, maintenance

and accessiblity of a Register of Members'

Interests;

(b) to consider any proposals made by Members

and others as to the form and content of

the register;

(c) to consider any specific complaints made

in relation to the registering or declaring

of interests;

(d) to consider what changes to any code of

conduct adopted by the House are necessary

or desirable;

(e) to consider what classes of person (if any)

other than Members ought to be required

to register and declare their interests,

and

(f) to make recommendations upon these and any

other matters which are relevant.

In addition, the Committee is required by

resolutions adopted by the House on 9 October 1984

a.m. to

2.

(a) determine a form for use by Members in

providing statements of registrable interests

(resolution (1));

(b) determine which "interests in companies"

Members are required to register (paragraph

(d) of resolution (2));

(c) determine the form of the Register of Members'

Interests to be maintained by the Registrar

(paragraph (b) of resolution (3));

(d) table a copy of the completed Register of

Members' Interests as soon as possible after

the commencement of each Parliament, and

the commencement of each subsequent calendar

year during the life of that Parliament,

and also table any notification by a Member

of alteration of interests (paragraph (c)

of resolution (3)), and

(e) draw up conditions under which the Register

is to be available for inspection (paragraph

(d) of resolution (3)).

The terms of standing order 28A and of the resolutions

adopted by the House on 9 October 1984 a.m. are attached

at Appendices I and II respectively.

2. On 21 March 1985 the Committee reported to the

House that with its membership having been appointed

only the previous day it had been unable to determine

a form in sufficient time to enable Members to comply

with the requirement to register their interests

within 28 days of having made an oath or affirmation

at the commencement of the Parliament. The Committee

recommended, and the House agreed, that a further

period of time, namely 28 days from the day of issue

of the forms of annual return by the Registrar, be granted within which Members will be required to

provide statements of registrable interests.

3. Since that date the Committee has held seven

meetings at which it has been endeavouring to determine

a form of return. It has failed to do so because

of potential difficulties foreseen in the registration

requirements and because of inequities arising from

those requirements.

4. The Committee believes that it has a responsibility to report these difficulties to the House. It seeks

decisions following discussion by the House in relation

to these matters before it will be able to determine

a form of return and set up a Register of Members'

interests. The particular areas of difficulty are dealt with under specific headings.

Why Members and not Senators?

5. An area of common concern to all members of the Committee, and to very many Members of the House

who have approached Committee members, is the

inequitable and anomalous situation created by the

requirement that Members of the House should register

their interests while their colleagues in the Senate

are not so required. In this respect the Committee

notes that on 25 February 1985 the Leader of the

National Party of Australia (Mr Sinclair) gave notice

of a motion to amend the preamble to the resolutions

adopted by the House on 9 October 1984 a.m., the

effect of which would be to provide that the registration requirements would not come into effect unless and until the Senate adopted resolutions requiring Senators

to meet similar requirements. The Committee notes

that this notice of motion has not yet been dealt

with by the House.

6. In those Australian States where registration

of interests arrangements are in place, the requirement

is common to Members of both Houses. Similarly, in

the United States of America the requirement is common

to both Members of the House of Representatives and

the Senate. In the United Kingdom however Members

of the House of Commons are required to register

their interests although there is no requirement

for Members of the House of Lords to do so.

7. The Committee cannot see the justification

for differing arrangements between the Australian

House of Representatives and the Senate. It could

even be said that with the present balance of power

situation existing in the Senate the registration

of Senators' interests is more important than the

registration of those of Members of the House of

Representatives. However, it is understood that there

are presently no plans for such a requirement to

be introduced.

8. Whether Members of the House should be required

to provide statements of their interests when their

Senate counterparts are not so required is a fundamental

question in relation to this issue. The Committee

strongly recommends to the House that it reconsider

the registration requirements for Members in view

of the anomolous situation that presently exists

vis-a-vis Senators.

9. The Committee now draws attention to difficulties

that have become apparent in relation to the registrat­

ion requirements contained in the resolutions of

the House of 9 October 1984 a .m . Should the House re-affirm its requirement for Members to register

their interests, notwithstanding the absence of such

a requirement in respect of Senators, the following

5.

matters will need to be addressed before a form of

return can be determined by the Committee and a Register

of Members' Interests established.

What classes of person other_than_Members_ought_to

be required to register and_declare_their_interests

10. As stated in paragraph 1, it is a responsibility

of the Committee to consider what classes of person

(if any) other than Members ought to be required

to register and declare their interests. The Committee

has had little opportunity up to this time of considering

this aspect of its responsibilities but wishes to

make some preliminary comments on the matter.

11. The Committee has noted that since July 1984

there has been a requirement in the Public Service

for all Secretaries of departments, all staff in

what was known as the Second Division (now the Senior Executive Service), as well as officers acting in

"Second Division" positions for more than 3 months,

and ministerial staff, to provide statements of their

interests and, to the extent that they are aware of them, those of their immediate family. The statements

by Secretaries are made to their Ministers and by

other staff to the head of the department or authority.-

This requirement by the Public Service Board recognises

the influence which may be exercised by senior officers

of the Commonwealth Public Service in the decision

making process.

12. There are however significant differences

in respect of the availability of these statements

and that proposed in respect of Members of the House

of Representatives. Statements made to a head of a department will be available to the relevant Minister.

6.

However, the Public Service Board circular issued

in relation to the requirements makes it clear that

the Government will regard these statements as "in

confidence" documents and secretaries to departments

should take personal responsibility for seeing that

documents in their possession are maintained in a

way that protects the privacy of their senior staff.

The statements are subject to the operation of the

Freedom of Information Act but requests for access

by parties (other than the subject of the record)

would be refused. An exemption would be claimed under

the provisions of section 41 of the Act which concerns

documents affecting personal privacy.

13. It is apparent also to the Committee that

members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery are rather

uniquely placed to exert considerable influence in

the decision making process - a matter referred to

by the Prime Minister in his statement to the House

of Representatives on 22 September 1983. Indeed,

it is believed that some media organisations and

their Parliamentary Press Gallery representatives

would claim to have played a not insignificant part

in a number of political events in recent years.

In these circumstances, the Committee proposes giving

early consideration to requiring, amongst others,

members of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery

to register their interests in a manner similar to

that applying to Members of the House. In this context

the Committee notes that the United Kingdom Select Committee on Members' Interests, in a report presented

to the House of Commons on 21 May 1985, has recommended that those holding permanent passes as lobby journalists,

as journalists accredited to the Parliamentary Press Gallery or for parliamentary broadcasting be required

to register not only the employment for which they

have received the pass, but also any other paid occupa-

7.

tion or employment where their privileged access

to Parliament is relevant. That committee further

recommended that a copy of that Register should be

placed in the House of Commons Library for the use of Members.

A Public Register?

14. Concern has been expressed by some members

of the Committee that the Register of Members' Interests

will be too accessible. This concern stems not from

an unwillingness to register their interests but

rather from an apparently genuinely held fear that

information gained from the Register might pose a risk to the person or property of Members and their families.

15. This matter was addressed briefly in the Report

of the Committee of Inquiry into Public Duty and Private Interest (the Bowen Report) (PP No. 353/1979

- paragraphs 6.45 - 6.47) which indicated that the

Committee was unable to arrive at firm opinions on

these matters. However, it went on to say:

"Fortunately, Australia has so far been

relatively free of these types of activity.

It sees no reason to suggest that, if otherwise

it was considered to be in the public interest

to introduce a register, a decision to introduce

it should be rejected upon these grounds."

16. The spate of acts of terrorism in other parts

of the world and recent events in Australia are a

cause for considerable concern to the Committee.

It is the Committee's strong belief that very serious

8.

re-consideration needs to be given to the extent

of the public availability of a Register.

17. The Committee appreciates the difficulties

that could occur if a restriction was placed on access

to a Register of Members' Interests. To some extent

such a restriction would defeat the purpose of a

Register. It may be possible to devise an arrangement

whereby access to the information contained in the

Register would be available only to those who could

demonstrate a proper and genuine need to know. In

this way, it may be possible to reduce the risk to

Members and their families posed by unscrupulous

persons. The Committee recommends that an arrangement

for limiting access to the Register be given earnest

consideration.

S P 2H ® £s_f^£ii_^® P ® J2d£i2t_£hil:dii® £_® E d_aw areness_of_

interests

18. The resolutions of the House of 9 October 1984

a .m . require that a Member should register not only

his or her interests but also those of which the

Member is aware of the Member's spouse and any children

who are wholly or mainly dependent on the Member for support. Strong objection has been lodged with

members of the Committee in respect of this additional requirement.

19. The registration of the interests of a spouse

and dependent children was dealt with to some extent

in the Bowen Report ibid. In recommending the adoption

of a Code of Conduct for general application to all

officeholders (i.e ., including Members of the Parliament)

that committee proposed the inclusion of the following item:

9.

"5. When the interests of members of his

immediate_f ami2:y_are_involvedi_the_of f iceholder

should_discl°se_those_interests_! __to_the_extent

that_they are_known_to_him. Members of the

immediate family will ordinarily comprise

only the officeholder's spouse and dependent

children, but may include other members of

his household or family when their interests

are closely connected with his", (page 31)

Whilst that committee did not favour the introduction

of a compulsory Register of Interests, it stated (at page 219) that

"...should a decision be taken to require

officeholders to register their pecuniary

interests, the register should be as comprehen­

sive as practicable. For the reasons now

outlined, a comprehensive register of interests

should, in the Committee's opinion, include

the following ingredients:

(a) Disclosure of interests of the office-holder and members of his immediate

family for whom he has responsibility

For the purposes of this requirement,

the definition of immediate family

is to be regarded as the same as that

appearing in item 5 of the proposed

Code of Conduct recommended in Chapter 4. It could thus cover defacto spouses,

dependent children of whatever age, and any other dependent relatives

whose affairs were so closely connected with those of the officeholder that

a benefit to them might flow on to

a significant extent to the officeholder."

10.

20. On the other hand, in New South Wales, Victoria,

South Australia and the Northern Territory which

have passed legislation for the registration of

interests, only South Australia requires the interests

of a spouse and dependent children to be registered

in certain respects. In the United States of America

the reporting individual is required to include inform­

ation concerning his or her spouse and dependent

children in most sections of the disclosure statement

whereas in the United Kingdom the requirement for

disclosure of the interests of a spouse or dependent

children is limited to giving "the names of companies

or other bodies in which the Member to his knowledge

has, either himself or with or on behalf of his spouse

and infant children, a beneficial interest in share­

holdings of a nominal value greater than one-hundredth

of the issued share capital".

21. It is also noted that in the Dissenting Report

attached to the Report of the House of Representatives

Standing Orders Committee in respect of the Declaration

and Registration of Private Interests of Members

(PP No. 144/1984), five members of that committee

reported that they considered "the requirement that

Members should be obliged to declare the private

interests of their families of which they are aware

to be an indefensible invasion of the privacy of

Members' families to which the strongest objection

must be taken".

22. In view of the differing provisions in the

various legislatures and the strong reservations

expressed by many Members to the requirement to register

the interests of a spouse and dependent children,

the Committee recommends that the House reconsider

this aspect of the requirements.

23. The Committee also observes that compliance

with the requirement for a Member to register the interests of which the Member is aware of a spouse

and of children who are wholly or mainly dependent

on a Member for support can pose difficulties. In

this regard it notes that when returns of registrable

interests of Ministers were tabled, it became necessary

for a number of additional statements relating to

omissions from, or alterations to, the original state­

ments in respect of spouses to be tabled. This would appear to indicate a degree of difficulty in providing

comprehensive details and may in itself be another

reason for not requiring registration of the interests

of a spouse and dependent children.

24. The Committee observes also that considerable

difficulty will be experienced by it, Members and others in applying a reasonable and proper interpretation

to the words "of which the Member is aware" in respect

of the requirement to register the interests of a

spouse and dependent children. It is unclear to the

committee the extent, if any, to which a Member should

be required to go to become "aware" of the interests of a spouse and dependent children, or whether knowledge

acquired by a Member purely as a spouse of a person

who has his or her own quite independent business

or other pecuniary interests should be required to be included in the Member's return. Not only does

the question of the invasion of the privacy of the

spouse arise but the matter of "awareness" has the potential to create very significant difficulties

in the operation of the requirements.

12.

Penalties

25. Presently no penalties are provided for

non-compliance with the registration requirements.

The question arises as to the effectiveness of any

requirement if no sanction is provided.

26. The Report of the House of Representatives

Standing Orders Committee idsixl quoted with apparent

approval evidence given by the Clerk of the House

of Commons to its Select Committee on Members' Interests

(Declaration) (HC. 102 (1974-75), p . xii) that:

"The ultimate sanction behind the obligation

upon Members to register would be the fact

that it was imposed by resolution of the

House. ...There can be no doubt that the

House might consider either a refusal to

register as required by its Resolutions or the wilful furnishing of misleading or false

information to be a contempt. The sanction

of possible penal jurisdiction by the House

should be sufficient".

On the other hand, the Bowen Report, op_cit (page

223), stated that:

"A breach of the rules, whether by failing

to lodge a return or lodging an incomplete

or inaccurate return, should be considered

by Parliament as breach of privilege with

the attendant sanctions available. The experience

of the British House of Commons, where no

sanction for non-compliance has been provided,

proves the necessity for some sanction".

27. The experience of the British House of Commons

referred to in the preceding statement related to

a situation existing some years ago in which a number

13.

of Members failed to lodge their statements of

interests. Only one Member still refuses to lodge

a statement. It is understood that there is no intention

to provide sanctions for failure to comply with the

requirements and no attempt has been made to compel

the recalcitrant Member to lodge a return.

28. The legislation in the United States of America

provides that the Attorney-General may bring a civil

action against any individual who knowingly and wilfully

falsifies or fails to report the information required

by the Act. A court may assess a civil penalty not

exceeding $5000 against such an individual. Legislation

enacted in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia

and the Northern Territory also provides for sanctions

to be imposed.

The provisions are:

New South Wales - The House may declare the

Member's seat vacant.

Victoria - In addition to any other

punishment for contempt

of the House, the particular

House may impose a fine

not exceeding $2000; in

default of payment of any

fine imposed within the

time ordered by the House,

the seat of the Member shall

become vacant.

South Australia - The legislation provides

that any person who wilfully contravenes or fails to comply with most of the

provisions of the Act (includ­ ing the registration

requirements) shall be guilty

of an office and liable

to a penalty not exceeding

$5000.

Northern Territory - the legislation provides

that a wilful contravention

of a requirement of the

Act is a contempt of the

Assembly and may be dealt

with accordingly.

29. In the House of Representatives it is presently

open to the House to reprimand, suspend or, in an

extreme case, to expel a Member for misconduct. It

also possesses the power to imprison a Member for

contempt but it is acknowledged that the use of such

a power would be considered to be most unlikely to

be acceptable. The power to expel a Member has only

been exercised on one occasion (the Hon. Hugh Mahon

on 11 November 1920 for allegedly uttering seditious

and disloyal utterances at a public meeting) and

recently the Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary

Privilege (PP219/1984) recommended (albeit with a dissenting report) that the House/Senate should no

longer possess a power of expulsion. A private Member's

bill based on the majority view of that committee,

is presently before the House and proposes that the

House should no longer possess a power of expulsion.

It does provide however for the ability to impose

a fine.

30. The Committee has set out details of the penalties

provided in other Legislatures and the penal and

other powers presently available to the House of

Representatives so that Members may be aware of the

position. However, it should be made clear that the

Committee neither advocates nor recommends the introduc­

tion of specific penalties for failure to comply

with the registration requirements.

15.

What_is_a_^conflict_of_interest^?

31. The resolutions adopted by the House provide

for Members to register "any other interests, such

as membership of organisations, where a conflict

of interest with a Member's public duties could fore-

seeably arise or be seen to arise". Later in this

report, the Committee will deal with the difficulty

of determining which classification of organisation

may fall into that category. In this section, however,

the Committee will deal with the question only of

what constitutes a "conflict of interest".

32. On page 11, paragraph 2.26, of the Bowen Report,

op_cit, that Committee stated

"The Committee believes that, in judging whether

a particular non-pecuniary interest could create conflict in certain situations, or

whether rules should be laid down in relation

to a certain type of non-pecuniary interest,

the test is the likelihood that the person possessing the interest could be influenced

in the independent judgement which his public

duty requires be applied to the matter in

hand, or that a reasonable person would believe

that he could be so influenced".

33. This Committee endorses that view. It acknowledges

the difficulty of attempting to lay down a definition

of "conflict of interest" and believes that each

individual case should be considered on its merits.

It also believes that the decision whether a particular

non-pecuniary benefit needs to be registered is one that must in the nature of things be left to the discretion and judgement of the individual Member.

16.

A trustee of an estate

34. The Committee's attention has been drawn spec­

ifically to the position of a Member who is an executor

and trustee of his father's estate and who administers

that estate for the benefit of his mother. Part of

the estate consists of a small portfolio of shares

in respect of which the Member is entitled to exercise

the right to vote or to dispose of those shares for

the benefit of the estate. Within the terms of the

resolutions adopted by the House, the Member is required

to register those shareholdings.

35. The Member concerned has voiced his very strong

objection to what he considers to be an invasion

of the privacy of the affairs of his late father

and of his mother. Whilst he acknowledges that he

is entitled to exercise the right to vote in respect

of those shareholdings - a fact which would require

him to register the shareholdings if they were his

own property - he believes it quite unreasonable

and contrary to the spirit of the registration require­

ments that he should be required to register the

shareholdings in these circumstances.

36. In the interests of the privacy of a person

who happens to have a Member as an executive or trustee

of an estate administered on behalf of that person,

the Committee recommends that the resolutions of

the House should be amended to specifically exclude

the registration requirement in such a situation

if the Member has no beneficial interest in the estate.

Interests in companies to be determined by the Committee

37. Paragraph (d ) of resolution 2 of the registration

requirements provides for the registration of

17.

"interests in companies to be determined by

the Committee of Members' Interests".

The Committee observes that in the notice of motion

given to the House in respect of these matters, the paragraph read

"directorships in private companies, indicating

the name of the company, its activities and

the total amounts of its assets and liabilities"

but the terms were changed when the motion was moved in the House.

38. The Committee notes that in respect of the

registration arrangements applying to Ministers,

there is a requirement to register directorships

in companies (although it is noted that Ministers may not retain directorships of public companies

and may retain directorships of private companies

only in certain circumstances). It seems to the Committee

that the requirement contained in the House resolutions

of 9 October 1984 a.m. should be interpreted to require the registration of any registered directorships

in companies held by the Member. Unless the House

should indicate otherwise, it proposes to determine accordingly.

39. Paragraph (e) of resolution (2) adopted by

the House requires the registration of

"partnerships, indicating the nature of the

interests, the activities of the partnership

and the total amounts of its assets and liabil­

ities".

18.

The Committee believes that it would be quite unreason­

able to expect any Member to be able to comply fully

with this requirement. The amount of the assets held

by a partnership may vary on a daily basis, or even

more than once a day on occasions, and the frequency

with which its liabilities may be incurred cannot

be predicted. It would be difficult, time consuming

and in fact, pointless to ask Members to provide

this information.

40. The Committee notes that in respect of the

Ministerial requirements the information required

to be furnished is limited to specifying (a) the

purpose or operations of the partnership or joint

venture and (b) the level of current involvement

(e.g. financial (sleeping) partner or consultant).

Similar requirements apply to senior public servants and ministerial staff and in neither case is the

person required to attempt to provide the total amounts

of the assets or liabilities of the partnership.

41. In view of the difficulties involved in complying

with the existing requirement, the frequency with

which changes in circumstances would have to be supplied

and the fact that this information has not been sought

in respect of Ministers and senior public servants,

the Committee recommends that the information sought

should be limited to specifying the purpose of the

partnership and the nature of the interest held.

Liabilities

42. The resolutions of the House (paragraph (f)

of resolution (2)) require Members to register

"liabilities (excluding short-term credit

arrangements) indicating the nature of the

liability and the creditor concerned".

The Committee foresees difficulties in Members meeting

Vhis requirement. Whilst short-term credit arrangements

have been specifically excluded from the requirement,

it appears to the Committee that they pose greater

potential for a conflict of interest situation to

arise than may be the case with other longer-term liabilities. The Committee recommends a reconsideration

of the need to register liabilities and, if the require­

ment is to be persisted in, some clarification of

what constitutes a short-term credit arrangement.

In the absence of some clarification, Members, the

Committee and the Registrar will be placed in a difficult

situation.

Hou s eho 1 d_jin d per son a 1 _e f f ec t s_or _a_£ o 1 1 e c t i on ?

43. In paragraph (i) of resolution (2) of the

House, Members are required to register -

"the nature of any other assets (including

collections, but excluding household and

personal effects) each valued at over $5000".

There are a number of aspects of this requirement

which are of concern to the Committee and to which it invites attention.

44. This is the only part of the resolutions where

the value of interests required to be registered

is specified. As a consequence, it will be obvious

to any person examining the completed register that

a collection held by a particular person is of substant­

ial value (i.e. more than $5000). This knowledge

will render the collection particularly vulnerable

to theft. In this respect, the Committee invites

attention to a recent case which occurred in Canberra

when publicity given to the existence of a valuable

stamp collection led to its elderly owner being assaulted

in his home and the collection stolen.

20.

45. The Committee fails to see why there is a

requirement for a Member to register ownership of

a collection. It does not believe that possession

of, say, a collection of paintings, stamps or antiques,

is likely to bring a Member into a conflict of interest

situation in the House or a committee. It recommends

that the House give reconsideration to this requirement.

46. The Committee also believes that in any reconsid­

eration of this matter, the House should consider

whether a distinction should be made between (a)

household and personal effects and (b) collections.

The Committee fails to see that a distinction should

be made between on one hand "household effects" which

may comprise valuable antique furniture or "personal

effects" such as expensive jewellery and on the other

hand "collections" of whatever nature. Nor is it

clear how to distinguish between the two. It urges

a review of this aspect of the requirements.

(Gifts

47. Clearly, the disclosure of gifts received

by a Member or his or her immediate family is an

essential element of the registration requirements.

The offer and acceptance of a gift has the potential

for a conflict of interest, or to be seen by some

as a conflict of interest. Its public disclosure

reduces or eliminates such a perception.

48. Obviously however, there are certain types

of gifts which pose no threat of conflict of interest

nor could they be so seen. Such gifts would obviously

include, say, a grandparent's gift of a bicycle to

a child of a Member or a Christmas or birthday gift

received by a Member, the Member's spouse or dependent

child from a relative or close personal friend in

a purely personal way. The Committee is satisfied

21.

thit the adoption of a sensible approach to this

aspect of the registration requirements will overcome

any difficulties in this area and it proposes that

the Registrar should apply the following guideline

in determining whether a particular gift needs to

be registered:

' tA gift received by a Member, the Member's

spouse or dependent children from family

members or personal friends in a purely personal

capacity need not be disclosed unless the

Mertber judges an appearance of conflict of

interest may be seen to exist".

49. In recommending this approach, the Committee

is mindful of the fact that the onus is on a Member in any system of registration of interests. If a

Member is uncertain as to whether a particular item

should be registered, he or she should seek the advice

of the Registrar which will be given in complete

confidence. It also needs to be recognised that should a Member deliberately conceal a particular registrable

item it is likely that ultimately knowledge of it

will become public in some way and the Member pay

the price for the concealment, be it some sanction

imposed by the House or a political consequence.

50. At the present time the resolutions require

the registration of gifts valued at more than $250

received from official sources or at more than $100

where received from other than official sources.

The Committee believes that the monetary values set

by the requirements should be reviewed periodically with the objective of maintaining those values in

real terms. It recommends that the House take appropriate

action in this regard.

Sponsored travel or hospitality received

51. This is another area of the registration require­

ments of particular importance but in respect of

which some difficulty of interpretation is apparent.

The Committee recognises the potential for a conflict

of interest situation to occur in the acceptance

by a Member, the Member's spouse or dependent children

of sponsored travel or hospitality.

52. It believes that in most cases "sponsored

travel" can be readily identified and proposes that

the following definition should be applied:

"Sponsored travel" means any free or subsidised

travel undertaken by a Member, a Member's

spouse or dependent children sponsored wholly

or partly by any person, organisation, business

or interest group or foreign Government or

its representative. It does not include any

travel entitlement received by a Member,

a Member's spouse or dependent children under

any determination by the Remuneration Tribunal

nor travel undertaken as a member of an official

Parliamentary delegation".

53. The Committee has experienced much more difficulty in reaching a satisfactory definition

of "hospitality" for the purposes of the registration

requirements. Obviously, there will be very many

occasions when a Member will be entertained by constit­

uents or interest groups quite properly and legitimately

exercising their powers of political persuasion,

explanation, or argument on the merits of a particular

issue to further a particular cause or concern. This

may also include acceptance of invitations hosted

by a company, business group or industrial or profess­

ional organisation. The Committee sees no need for

the registration of hospitality of this nature.

Similarly it sees no need to require a Member to

23.

register his or her attendance at a reception or

dinner hosted by an overseas representative - a fairly

frequent occurrence during sitting periods of the

House.

54. On the other hand, the Committee is satisfied

that a Member should register the acceptance of free

or subsidised accommodation or travelling expenses

received either separately or in conjunction with

sponsored travel undertaken. The use by a Member,

a Member's spouse or dependent children of accommodation

made available by another person, company or organis­

ation, other than by a close personal friend or relative, should be registered where there is seen

to be any potential for conflict of interest. In

all cases the onus for disclosure should rest on

the Member and the advice of the Registrar sought

where any uncertainty exists. It should also be noted

that the Committee sees it as a responsibility of the Registrar to put before it for advice any matter

which he feels unable to determine. The confidential

relationship between a Member and the Registrar,

which is an essential element of the registration

requirements, would be maintained by the Registrar

not revealing the identity of the Member concerned

but only the particular circumstances surrounding

the case upon which advice of the Committee was being sought.

Member ship_ of _organisati:ons

55. Paragraph (m) of resolution (2) adopted by

the House requires the registration of

"any other interests, such as membership of

organisations, where a conflict of interest with a Member's public duties could foreseeably

arise or be seen to arise".

Earlier in this report, the Committee has dealt with

the difficulties of defining "conflict of interest".

The classification of organisations, membership of

which may warrant registration, poses similar difficul­ ties .

56. Whilst the resolutions limit the requirement

to the registration of membership of organisations

"where a conflict of interest with a Member's public

duties could foreseeably arise or be seen to arise"

it has become apparent to the Committee that membership

of any organisation, be it political, sporting, recrea­

tional, religious or community based, may have the

potential for a conflict of interest situation to

arise. For this reason, the Committee is reluctantly

forced to the conclusion that it will be necessary

for it to require the registration of the membership

of all organisations. It seeks the concurrence of

the House in this approach to the registration require­ ment .

CONCLUSION

57. In this report, the Committee has set out

the difficulties it has experienced in attempting

to determine a form for use by Members in registering

their interests. It is obvious that further direction

and clarification is required from the House before the Committee will be able to successfully address

its task.

58. The Committee considers that the most expeditious

way of dealing with this matter is for it to pose

a series of questions covering the matters raised

in this report for consideration and response by

the House. The primary question which needs to be addressed is:

25.

(a) Does the House intend that Members of

the House of Representatives should be

required to register their interests

notwithstanding the failure of the Senate to impose a similar requirement on Senators?

If the answer to this question is in the negative,

no further matters need be addressed at this time.

On the other hand, if it is intended that registration

should occur, the following questions need to be answered:

(b) Is it required that information provided

by Members should be tabled, published

and available in a public register or

should another arrangement be devised to limit access to the material to reduce

risks posed to the person and property

of Members and their families by unscrupulous

persons;

(c) Does the House intend that a Member should

be required to register the interests

of which he or she is aware of the Member's

spouse and any children who are wholly or mainly dependent on the Member for

support and what steps is a Member expected

to take to become aware, as discussed in paragraph 24;

(d) Does the House agree that the decision

whether a particular non-pecuniary benefit

needs to be registered must be left to

the discretion and judgment of the individual Member;

(e) Should the resolutions of the House be

amended to specifically exclude the require­

ment for a Member to register shareholdings held by him or her in the capacity of

26.

executor/trustee of a deceased person's

estate where the beneficiaries of the

estate do not include the Member.

(f) Does the House accept the Committee's

recommendation that paragraph (d) of

resolution (2) adopted by the House on

9 October 1984 a.m. should be interpreted

as requiring the registration only of

registered directorships in companies;

(g) Should the resolutions of the House be

amended to require that a Member need

only register the purpose of any partnership

and the nature of the interest held and

not the total amounts of the assets and

liabilities of the partnership;

(h) Should short-term credit arrangements

be registered as liabilities and what

type of liability should be regarded

as falling into that classification;

(i) Should a distinction be drawn between

(a) household and personal effects and

(b) collections and is there a need to

register items falling into either category;

(j) Does the House support the Committee's

intention to determine that a gift received

by a Member, the Member's spouse or depend­

ent children from family or personal

friends in a purely personal capacity

need not be disclosed unless the Member

judges an appearance of conflict of interest may be seen to exist;

(k ) Is it proposed to review periodically

the value of gifts which need to be register­

ed ;

(l) Are the guidelines proposed by the Committee

in respect of sponsored travel and hospit­

ality considered adequate to deal with

these matters, and

(m) Is it accepted that membership of any

organisation may provide the potential

for a conflict of interest situation

to occur and that Members should therefore be required to register membership of

all organisations irrespective of their

nature.

CHAIRMAN

18 SEPTEMBER 1985

APPENDIX I

COMMITTEE OF MEMBERS’ INTERESTS

NEW STANDING ORDER 28A ADOPTED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON 9 OCTOBER 1984, a . m .

Committee of Members’ Interests 28a . (a) A Committee of Members’ Interests shall be appointed at the commencement of each Parliament— (i) to inquire into and report upon the arrangements made for the compilation,

maintenance and accessibility of a Register of Members’ Interests; (ii) to consider any proposals made by Members and others as to the form and content of the register; (iii) to consider any specific complaints made in relation to the registering or

declaring of interests; (iv) to consider what changes to any code of conduct adopted by the House are necessary or desirable; (v) to consider what classes of person (if any) other than Members ought to be

required to register and declare their interests, and (vi) to make recommendations upon these and any other matters which are relevant.

(b) The committee shall consist of 7 members, 4 Members to be nominated by either the Prime Minister, the Leader of the House or the Government Whip and 3 Members to be nominated by either the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition or the Opposition Whip:

Provided that, where the Opposition is composed of 2 parties, the committee shall consist of 4 Members to be nominated by either the Prime Minister, the Leader of the House or the Government Whip, 2 Members to be nominated by either the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition or the Opposition Whip, and 1 Member to be nominated by either the Leader of the Third Party, the Deputy Leader of the Third Party or the Third Party Whip.

(c) The committee shall elect as chairman of the committee one of the Members nominated either by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the House or the Government Whip.

(d) The committee shall have power to send for persons, papers and records but shall not exercise that power, nor undertake an investigation of the private interests of any person, unless approved by not less than 4 members of the committee other than the chairman.

(e) The committee shall have power to confer with a similar committee of the Senate.

(f) The committee shall, as soon as practicable after 31 December in each year, prepare and table in the House a report on its operations during that year and shall also have power to report from time to time.

DECLARATION AND REGISTRATION OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS

APPENDIX II

RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON 9 OCTOBER 1984, a.m.

That the following resolutions relating to the registration and declaration of Members' interests be adopted, such resolutions to have effect from the commencement of the 34th Parliament and to continue in force unless and until amended or repealed by the House of Representatives in this or a subsequent

Parliament: (1) Declaration of Members’ interests That within 28 days of making and subscribing an oath or affirmation as a Member of the House of Representatives and within 28 days after the

commencement of the first period of sittings in each subsequent calendar year while remaining a Member of the House of Representatives, each Member shall provide to the Registrar of Members’ Interests, a statement of— (1) the Member’s registrable interests, and

(2) the registrable interests of which the Member is aware (a) of the Member’s spouse and (b) of any children who are wholly or mainly dependent on the Member for support, in accordance with resolutions adopted by the House and in a form determined by the Committee of Members’ Interests from time to time, and shall also notify any alteration of those interests to the Registrar within 28 days of that alteration occurring. (2) Registrable interests

That the statement of a Member’s registrable interests to be provided by a Member shall include the registrable interests of which the Member is aware (1) of the Member’s spouse and (2) of any children who are wholly or mainly dependent on the Member for support, and shall cover the following matters:

(a) shareholdings in public and private companies (including holding companies) indicating the name of the company or companies; (b) family and business trusts and nominee companies— (i) in which a beneficial interest is held, indicating the name of the trust,

the nature of its operation and beneficial interest, and (ii) in which the Member, the Member’s spouse, or a child who is wholly or mainly dependent on the Member for support, is a trustee, indicating the name of the trust, the nature of its operation and the beneficiary of

the trust;

(c) real estate, including the location (suburb or area only) and the purpose for which it is owned; (d) interests in companies to be determined by the Committee of Members' Interests;

(e) partnerships, indicating the nature of the interests, the activities of the partnership and the total amounts of its assets and liabilities; (0 liabilities (excluding short-term credit arrangements) indicating the nature of the liability and the creditor concerned; (g) the nature of any bonds, debentures and like investments; (h) saving or investment accounts, indicating their nature and the name of the

bank or other institutions concerned; (i) the nature of any other assets (including collections, but excluding household and personal effects) each valued at over $5000; (j) the nature of any other substantial sources of income; (k) gifts valued at more than $250 received from official sources, or at more than

$100 where received from other than official sources; (l) any sponsored travel or hospitality received, and (m) any other interests, such as membership of organisations, where a conflict of interest with a Member's public duties could foreseeably arise or be seen to

arise.

(3) Register and Registrar of Members’ Interests

Thal­

ia) at the commencement of each Parliament, and at other times as necessary, Mr Speaker shall appoint an officer of the Department of the House of Representatives as the Registrar of Members’ Interests and that officer shall also be clerk to the Committee of Members’ Interests;

(b) the Registrar of Members’ Interests shall, in accordance with procedures determined by the Committee of Members’ Interests, maintain a Register of Members’ Interests in a form to be determined by that committee from time to time;

(c) as soon as possible after the commencement of each Parliament and in each subsequent calendar year during the life of that Parliament, the chairman of the Committee of Members’ Interests shall table in the House a copy of the completed Register of Members’ Interests and shall also table from time to

time as required any notification by a Member of alteration of those interests, and

(d) the Register of Members’ Interests shall be available for inspection by any person under conditions to be laid down by the Committee of Members’ Interests from time to time.

(4) Declaration of interest in debate and other proceedings

That, notwithstanding the lodgement by a Member of a statement of the Member’s registrable interests and the registrable interests of which the Member is aware (1) of the Member’s spouse and (2) of any children who are wholly or mainly dependent on the Member for support, and the incorporation of that

statement in a Register of Members’ Interests, a Member shall declare any relevant interest—

(a) at the beginning of his or her speech if the Member should participate in debate in the House, committee of the whole House, or a committee of the House (or of the House and the Senate), and

(b) as soon as practicable after a division is called for in the House, committee of the whole House, or a committee of the House (or of the House and the Senate) if the Member proposes to vote in that division, and

the declaration shall be recorded and indexed in the Voles and Proceedings or minutes of proceedings (as applicable) and in any Hansard report of those proceedings or that division:

Provided that it shall not be necessary for a Member to declare an interest when directing a question seeking information in accordance with standing order 142 or 143.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

COMMITTEE OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS

34th Parliament - 2nd Meeting

Minutes of Proceedings of meeting held on 16 April 1985 at 3.35 p.m.

1. Present:

Dr R.E. Klugman, M.P. (Chairman) The Hon. A.E. Adermann, M.P. The Hon. N.A. Brown, Q.C., M.P. Mr D.M. Cameron, M.P. Mr L. Kent, M.P. Mr E.J. Lindsay, R.F.D., M.P. Mr M.J. Maher, M.P.

2. Cancellation of scheduled meeting:

The Chairman informed the Committee of the circumstances necessitating the cancellation of the meeting scheduled for Tuesday, 26 March 1985.

3. Minutes of Proceedings:

The Minutes of Proceedings of the meeting of the Committee held on 20 March 1985 were confirmed.

4. Resolution of the House of Representatives

The Chairman presented an extract from Votes and Proceedings No. 9 dated Thursday, 21 March 1985 containing a resolution providing that -(a) in the case of Members of the House of Represent­

atives of the 34th Parliament who made and subscribed an oath or affirmation on 21 February 1985, a further period of 28 days from the day of issue of the forms of annual return by the Registrar of Members' Interests be granted within which they will be required to provide a statement

of registrable interests to the Registrar of Members' Interests in accordance with the resolutions adopted by the House on 9 October 1984 a.m., and

2.

(b) in all other respects, the resolutions adopted by the House on 9 October 1984 a .m. relating to the registration and declaration of interests continue in force.

5. Registration of Members' Interests:

The Committee deliberated.

6. Future Meeting Arrangements:

Ordered -That the next meeting of the Committee be held on Tuesday, 7 May 1985 at 3.30 p.m. and that further meetings be scheduled for the same time on Tuesday,

14 and Tuesday, 21 May 1985.

7. Official Photograph of Committee:

Resolved on the motion of Mr Lindsay -That, this being the first Committee of the Members' Interests to have been established, arrangements be made for the taking of an official photograph of the Committee at its next meeting.

8. Adjournment:

The Committee adjourned at 5.03 p.m.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

COMMITTEE OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS

34th Parliament - 3rd Meeting

Minutes of Proceedings of meeting held on 7 May 1985 at 4 p.m.

1. Present:

Dr R.E. Klugman, M.P. (Chairman) The Hon. Α.Ξ. Adermann, M.P. The Hon. N.A. Brown, Q.C., M.P. Mr D.M. Cameron, M.P. Mr L. Kent, M.P. Mr E.J. Lindsay, R.F.D., M.P. Mr M.J. Maher, M.P.

2 . Minutes of Proceedings:

The Minutes of Proceedings of the meeting of the Committee held on 16 April 1985 were confirmed.

3. Registration of Members' Interests:

The Committee deliberated.

4. Adjournment:

The Committee adjourned at 5.12 p.m. until Tuesday, 14 May 1985 at 3.30 p.m.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

COMMITTEE OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS

34th Parliament - 4th Meeting

Minutes of Proceedings of meeting held on 14 May 1985 at 3.30 p.m.

1. Present:

Dr R.E. Klugman, M.P. (Chairman) The Hon. A.E. Adermann, M.P. The Hon. N.A. Brown, Q.C., M.P. Mr L. Kent, M.P. Mr E.J. Lindsay, R.F.D., M.P. Mr M.J. Maher, M.P.

2 . Minutes of Proceedings:

The Minutes of Proceedings of the meeting of the Committee held on 7 May 1985 were confirmed.

3. Registration of Members' Interests:

The Committee deliberated.

4. Adjournment:

The Committee adjourned at 5.10 p.m. until Tuesday, 21 May 1985 at 3.30 p.m.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

COMMITTEE OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS

34th Parliament - 5th Meeting

Minutes of Proceedings of meeting held on 21 May 1985 at 3.40 p.m.

1. Present:

Dr R.E. Klugman, M.P. (Chairman) The Hon. A.E. Adermann, M.P. Mr D.M. Cameron, M.P. Mr L. Kent, M.P. Mr E.J. Lindsay, R.F.D., M.P. Mr M.J. Maher, M.P.

2. Minutes of Proceedings:

The Minutes of Proceedings of the meeting of the Committee held on 14 May 1985 were confirmed.

3. Registration of Members' Interests:

The Committee deliberated.

Ordered - That a draft report to the House outlining areas of difficulty in the registrat­ ion requirements and related matters be prepared for consideration during the winter adjournment.

4. Adj ournment:

The Committee adjourned at 4.55 p.m. until a date to be determined.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

COMMITTEE OF MEMBERS' INTERESTS

34th Parliament - 6th Meeting

Minutes of Proceedings of meeting held on 10 September 1985 at 4 p.m.

Present:

Dr R.E. Klugman, MP (Chairman) The Hon. A.E. Adermann, MP Mr D.M. Cameron, MP Mr L. Kent, MP Mr E.J. Lindsay, RFD, MP Mr M.J. Maher, MP Mr J.M. Spender, QC, MP

Membership of committee:

The Chairman informed the committee that the House of Representatives had this day appointed Mr J.M. Spender, QC, MP, as a member of the committee in the place of the Hon. N .A . Brown, QC, MP, resigned.

Minutes of Proceedings:

The Minutes of Proceedings of the meeting of the Committee held on 21 May 1985 were confirmed.

Registration of Members'_Interests:

The Chairman brought up his draft report relating to the registration requirements.

The committee deliberated.

The committee proceeded to consider the draft report -Paragraphs 1 to 4 agreed to. Paragraph 5 amended and agreed to.

Paragraph 6 agreed to. Paragraph 7 amended and agreed to. Paragraphs 8 to 11 agreed to. New paragraph 11A inserted. Paragraph 12 amended and agreed to.

2.

Paragraphs 13 and 14 agreed to. Paragraph 15 amended and agreed to. Paragraph 16 amended and agreed to. Paragraphs 17 to 22 agreed to. New paragraph 22A inserted. Paragraphs 23 to 26 agreed to. Paragraph 27 amended and agreed to. Paragraph 28 omitted and new paragraph inserted. Paragraphs 29 and 30 agreed to. Paragraph 31 amended and agreed to. Paragraphs 32 to 35 agreed to. Paragraph 36 amended and agreed to. New paragraphs 36A, 36B and 36C inserted.

Ordered - That the draft report be reprinted incorporating amendments already made by the committee and that the reprinted draft and the remaining paragraphs be considered at the next meeting.

Adj ournment;

The committee adjourned at 6.05 p.m. until Monday, 16 September 1985 at 4 p.m.

2.

New sub-paragraph (j a ) inserted. Sub-paragraph (k ) agreed to. Sub-paragraph (1) amended and agreed to.

Paragraph 14 reconsidered, amended and agreed to. Report, as amended, agreed to.

Resolved - On the motion of Mr D.M. Cameron - That the report, as amended, be the report of the committee to the House.

(4) Adj ournment

The Committee adjourned at 11.50 a.m. until a date and hour to be determined by the Chairman.