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Thursday, 21 March 1985
Page: 646


Mr STEELE HALL(10.47) —I am concerned that the withdrawal of the amendment moved by the Leader of the National Party of Australia (Mr Sinclair) will mean that we will now be voting specifically for the latter parts of the motion moved by the Leader of the House (Mr Young), which adopt the procedures set out previously by the parental resolution concerning this matter of pecuniary interests. I do not believe that if the Senate, also under Australian Labor Party direction, also introduces this measure that will make the measure any more proper or right than we believed it to be when we opposed it in this House on the first occasion it was debated here. I would have supported the amendment of the Leader of the National Party on the basis that it was some form of protest. I believe it is best that we as a House put off the operation of this proposal to a time far removed from the present, to a time when we can further consider the full ramifications.

It is quite obviously ridiculous that a Minister of this Government who so offended the security of this nation by leaking information in a car park in this city that he was warned by a judge and by the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) should have transgressed again and should have been subjected to further inquiry about a different matter of probity in relation to the operation of his ministerial responsibilities. If he did not learn the first time, I put it to the House, what would he have learned the second time? What, therefore, in what is proposed here, would prevent him from doing something further? I believe that the declaration of that Minister's pecuniary interests will do nothing to lift his desire to fulfil properly his responsibilities to the Australian community.

We can distil this to the point of absurdity. Why is every elector, who has the first and primary responsibility of deciding this country's future, not required to make some sort of pecuniary interest declaration? If members are so to declare their interests, what about the persons who have the first and primary responsibility? Of course, that reduces the whole proposition to an absolute nonsense and farce. In any event, the Leader of the National Party has again fully canvassed the reasons why we ought not to be involved in this at all. I believe that in now supporting the motion of the Leader of the House we are beginning to support all the arrangements which we objected to so vigorously previously. On that basis, and without taking further time of the House, I move as an amendment:

That all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

'the operation of the resolution adopted by the House on 9 October 1984, a.m. relating to the registration and declaration of Members' Interests be deferred until the commencement of the 35th Parliament'.


Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mrs Child) —Is the amendment seconded?