The ACT Legislative Assembly passed its own parliamentary code of conduct yesterday, bringing it into line with Tasmania, NSW, Queensland and Victoria.
According to the Canberra Times (but not online), the code covers areas including conflict of interest, disclosure of pecuniary interests, receipt of gifts, use of confidential information and conduct as employers.
However there is no formal punishment for anyone who breaches the code. Wayne Berry, who porposed the code, said members in breach of it would be punished by the voters. Hands up who will remember any breaches made this year by the time we get to the polls in 2008.
Greens MLA Deb Foskey moved for several amendments to be made to the code, but only one, requiring that members “extend professional courtesy and respect” to all Assembly staff, was passed.
Among the amendements not passed was one to make members responsible for the actions of their staff.
In a press release (also not yet online), Dr Foskey said, “ACT Labor and Liberal parties have endorsed ‘Children Overboard’ behaviour where members can hide behind the actions of their staff.”
She also proposed that staffers of sitting members must “declare their position when participating or raising questions at public meetings, consultations and community events, and in the media” and that it would be the members’ responsibility to ensure this happened. This is presumably in response to the recent letter writing scandal (see also here).
UPDATED The Greens’ press release is now online.