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Wednesday, 23 April 1980
Page: 1703


Senator CARRICK - I have a combined answer to two questions, one by Senator Evans and the other by Senator Button, on what is regarded as the Bowen Committee report. On 1 9 March Senator Evans asked the AttorneyGeneral a question without notice on the report of the Committee of Inquiry concerning Public Duty and Private Interest. On 25 March Senator Button asked me a question without notice on the same matter and yesterday I undertook to get a reply to Senator Button's question.

When the report of the Committee of Inquiry concerning Public Duty and Private Interest was tabled the Government indicated that it had accepted the recommendations in regard to Ministers, Defence Force personnel, officers of the

Parliamentary departments, public servants and statutory office holders and their staff. At that time, the Government undertook that proposals relating to Parliamentary procedures and members of Parliament would be debated before any decisions affecting them were made. Yesterday in response to a question without notice from the honourable member for Kingsford-Smith the Prime Minister said that important matters were involved in respect of members of the Parliament and in the Government's view the matter should be fully debated in the Parliament as well as in the respective party rooms. He said that process should be put in train before the end of these sittings.

With regard to action to date the Prime Minister has written to all Ministers establishing revised arrangements for declaration of interest and reiterating their responsibility to avoid conflicts between private interest and public duty. The Public Service Board issued Public Service Board Circular No. 1986 of 14 March of this year setting out guidelines concerning the code of conduct and other recommendations of the report relating to public servants. Action is in train to implement the revised arrangements in relation to ministerial staff, Defence Force personnel, officers of the parliamentary departments and statutory office holders and their staff. As the Attorney-General said in response to a question from Senator Evans on 19 March:

.   . work has been progressing on that recommendation about an amendment to the Crimes Act.

With regard to the judiciary, the Bowen Committee did not recommend any extension of existing rules in regard to members of the judiciary.







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