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96 days for PM Rudd to break his own code of ethics.



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Fri, 11th April 2008 96 DAYS FOR PM RUDD TO BREAK HIS OWN CODE OF ETHICS

Senator the Hon Michael Ronaldson Shadow Special Minister of State

''The Prime Minister's omission of his wife's still registered company Invisage Australia from his House of Representatives Registry of Interests says something to working families about Mr Rudd's lack of attention to detail given that he is supposed to be running a $1.1 trillion economy'', said Senator Michael Ronaldson, Shadow Special Minister of State.

''No-one is suggesting that this omission was a deliberate attempt by Mr Rudd to deceive the public or breach the ministerial ethics code, but it is certainly evidence that Mr Rudd is so stretched by trying to micro-manage the media and his ministers that he is now making basic mistakes.

''The Prime Minister's omission of his wife's wholly owned subsidiary is a breach of sections 2.12 and 2.13 of The Standards of Ministerial Ethics. The guidelines and the Explanatory Memorandum of the Registry of Interests do not define or differentiate between an inactive or active company. Rather, the Registry simply requires that a company still exists. For all intents and purposes ASIC does not discriminate between dormant companies and non dormant companies, but rather registered and non registered.

''This morning on 3AW's Neil Mitchell program, Julia Gillard repeated Kevin Rudd's media management script on this issue: ''I am advised that the company in question is an inactive company and has been inactive for a considerable period of time and is in the process of being wound up.''

''Well when you look at the technicality of what needs to be declared this did not need to be declared and in any event is an inactive company that is in the process of being wound up.''

''Ms Gillard, as the Acting Prime Minister should know better then to try and mislead the

Australian public. What she said this morning is plain wrong. The ''technicality'' spoken of does not exist within the explanatory notes of the Register of Members interest. Mr Rudd and Ms Gillard's use of the term ''inactive company'' is a line to get them through the current media cycle.

''Section 1 of the Register Explanatory Notes state: Where interests are held in a private holding company (i.e. a proprietary company formed for the purpose of investing in subsidiary companies) all such subsidiary companies, and any subsidiary companies held by those subsidiary companies, should be named.

''As the Prime Minister states in the forward of The Standards of Ministerial Ethics: "The Australian people are entitled to expect the highest standards of behaviour from their elected representatives in general and Ministers in particular.

These Standards give a clear indication of my expectations of Ministers. They clearly

state that Ministers are required to act with integrity and fairness, be responsible for the

way they exercise their powers and accept the full implications of the principle of

ministerial responsibility." ''The standard of ministerial ethics is apparently only applicable to his ministers and not Mr Rudd himself.

''The company, Invisage, is still a wholly owned subsidiary of Ingeus, the parent company of which Ms Rein owns and operates until its deregistered and as such the company is still active until deregistration.

''I think it would leave most Australians feeling a little cold that Mr Rudd has been so sloppy with these details given that he is responsible for running a $1.1 trillion economy in a time of global economic turbulence,'' said Senator Ronaldson.