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Carr's job will be a catalyst for accountability debate.



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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Murray Democrats Senator for Western Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Accountability

Dated: 11 October 2005

Press Release Number: gddmsnwq Portfolio: Accountability

More from Senator Andrew Murray on Accountability

Carr's Job will be a Catalyst for Accountability Debate Australian Democrats' Senator Andrew Murray today invited the NSW Government to use his Private Member's Bill on post-ministerial 'cooling-off' periods as the foundation for urgently needed legislative reform. The catalyst for extending the invitation was the Macquarie Bank announcement that former NSW Premier Bob Carr is to work as a part-time consultant. The appointment has stimulated the public to again question the accountability mechanisms controlling the relationship between politicians and the business sector. Senator Murray said the Private Member's Bill State (Post-Retirement Employment Restrictions) Bill 2002 that he jointly introduced with Senator Stott Despoja is as relevant today as it was three years ago. "In essence we sought to prevent Minister's from allowing themselves to be influenced in the conduct of their responsibilities by plans or offers of employment or other remuneration once they leave office," Senator Murray said. "Another feature of the Bill was the introduction of a two-year 'cooling-off' period. In short, for two years a Minister could not accept employment in their area of former Ministerial responsibility." Senator Murray said Mr Carr's appointment was a timely reminder that there are no restraints regarding post-Ministerial employment. "The question should not be whether there should or should not be restraints on Ministers but rather what those restraints should be," he said. "Human beings are human beings and there are a minority of people who will be tempted to use their information and their background in their new position. In making that general point, I make no inference whatsoever about Mr Carr. "In the United States it is an extremely serious offence for a member of the political executive to take up employment during a proscribed period which may result in the use of information gathered during their executive term of office. Specifically, an offence could result in up to five years imprisonment. "Australia has no restraints and that must change. Mr Carr's appointment will be a catalyst for renewed public and political debate on this issue. "We must not continue to fail our democracy by enabling the existing accountability loophole to continue," Senator Murray concluded.

Printed: 20 October 2005

Authorised by: J. Wood, 711 South Road, Black Forest, SA 5035. http://www.democrats.org.au/news/index.htm