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Tuesday, 4 February 2020
Page: 2

Senator WATT (Queensland) (12:03): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator WATT: It's very disappointing that it has been necessary to hear from Senator Canavan on this matter on a day that is supposed to be devoted to the victims of the bushfires, but we need to be clear about how serious this matter is. Senator Canavan has confirmed that he had an undeclared membership of a club which received a loan from an agency within his ministerial responsibility. The Prime Minister has made it clear that failure to declare membership of a club that received a grant under a program within her ministerial responsibility was a breach of her ministerial standards and the very reason that Senator McKenzie had to resign from the cabinet. The same standard must apply consistently to all ministers. If Senator McKenzie was not able to return to cabinet for breaching ministerial standards, Senator Canavan should not be able to either. We will take the opportunity at another time, a more appropriate time, to discuss this matter in more detail. We should note that Senator Canavan also has disclosure obligations to the Senate as well as to the Prime Minister, and it appears he may have failed to meet these obligations as well.