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47    Attendance of a minister—Senator Cormann

Senator Waters, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 30—

(1)       That the Senate—

(a)       notes that current and previous Prime Ministers’ Statements of Ministerial Standards clearly provide that ministers must act with honesty and integrity in all their activities, in particular, ministers must:

                                                        (i)       make arrangements to avoid conflicts arising from their private interests, also having regard to interests held by family members (paragraphs 2.9 and 2.17), and

                                                      (ii)       not use public office for private purposes (paragraph 2.2);

(b)       further notes with deep concern recent reports in The Guardian that:

                                                        (i)       while Jam Land Pty Ltd, a company part-owned by Mr Angus Taylor MP and his brother, was under investigation by the Department of the Environment for alleged unlawful destruction of critically-endangered grasslands, Minister Taylor met with Department of the Environment staff,

                                                      (ii)       an investigator from the office responsible for investigating the clearing allegations attended at least one meeting between Minister Taylor and departmental staff, and

                                                     (iii)       the former Minister for the Environment, Mr Josh Frydenberg, was approached by Mr Angus Taylor in relation to the critically-endangered listing of the grassland species, and Minister Frydenberg subsequently sought advice about his powers to amend the critically-endangered listing;

(c)       is of the opinion that there are serious questions about whether this conduct complies with the Ministerial Standards; and

(d)       requires that the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Cormann) attend the Senate at 12.20 pm on 22 July 2019 to explain, for a period not longer than 10 minutes:

                                                        (i)       the conduct of Ministers Taylor and Frydenberg and how it is not a breach of the Ministerial Standards, and

                                                      (ii)       whether any investigation has been, or will be, undertaken into the conduct of Ministers Taylor and Frydenberg.

(2)       That, at the conclusion of the Minister’s explanation, any senator may, without notice, move a motion to take note of the Minister’s explanation.

(3)       That any motion under paragraph (2) may be debated for no longer than 1 hour, and have precedence over all government business until determined, and senators may speak to the motion for not more than 10 minutes.

Senator Gallagher, by leave, moved the following amendment:

Paragraph (1)(d), omit “12.20 pm on 22 July 2019”, substitute “12.00 pm on 23 July 2019”.

Question—That the amendment be agreed to—put and passed.

Main question, as amended, put.

The Senate divided—

AYES, 36

Senators—

Ayres

Gallacher

McAllister

Siewert

Bilyk

Gallagher

McCarthy

Steele-John

Brown

Green

McKim

Sterle

Carr

Griff

O’Neill

Urquhart*

Chisholm

Hanson-Young

Patrick

Walsh

Ciccone

Keneally

Pratt

Waters

Di Natale

Kitching

Rice

Watt

Dodson

Lambie

Roberts

Whish-Wilson

Faruqi

Lines

Sheldon

Wong

 

 

NOES, 32

Senators—

Abetz

Chandler

Hume

Reynolds

Antic

Colbeck

McDonald

Ruston

Askew

Cormann

McGrath

Ryan

Bernardi

Davey

McMahon

Scarr

Birmingham

Duniam

O’Sullivan

Seselja

Bragg

Fawcett

Paterson

Smith, Dean*

Brockman

Fifield

Payne

Stoker

Canavan

Hughes

Rennick

Van

 

 

* Tellers

Question agreed to.