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Wednesday, 14 October 2015
Page: 7633

Register of Members' Interests

Senator DASTYARI (New South Wales) (14:43): My question is to the Cabinet Secretary, Senator Sinodinos. Senator, does the cabinet handbook require ministers attending cabinet meetings to declare any pecuniary interests held by them or their family which give rise to, or are likely to give rise to, a conflict with their public duties? Does the cabinet handbook require ministers to be excused from discussions when such a conflict exists, or could be seen to exist?

Senator SINODINOS (New South WalesCabinet Secretary) (14:44): In broad terms, the answer is yes.

Senator DASTYARI (New South Wales) (14:44): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Senator, has the requirement for ministers to declare conflicts and withdraw from related discussions been strictly observed by all ministers in both the Abbott and Turnbull governments?

Senator SINODINOS (New South WalesCabinet Secretary) (14:44): In my current capacity I can only speak about the Turnbull government. I was not there for the Abbott government. I was not in the cabinet. As far as I am aware, it has been in the context of the Turnbull government.

Senator Dastyari: Mr President, on a point of order: noting the question, is it possible for the minister to take it on notice?

The PRESIDENT: I think the Cabinet Secretary clearly articulated he was not involved at all with the previous cabinet, so I do not think there is anything he can take on notice.

Senator DASTYARI (New South Wales) (14:45): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Has Mr Turnbull been present for any cabinet discussions about the Abbott-Turnbull government's approach to tax transparency laws, including the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (Better Targeting the Income Tax Transparency Laws) Bill 2015?

Senator SINODINOS (New South WalesCabinet Secretary) (14:45): As I say, I have been Cabinet Secretary since the beginning of the Turnbull government, and we have not had a discussion about that particular matter. I will check my recollection, and I will refresh it if I have to update you. But I have not been involved in any such discussion in my time as Cabinet Secretary.