5 August 2008

Nepotism - Thriving in the ACT Legislative Assembly

| Jonathon Reynolds
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WAYNE BERRY MLARetiring ACT Legislative Assembly Speaker, Wayne Berry was on the ABC 666 news this afternoon lamenting and indicating that it is embarrassing that nepotism is very much alive, well and thriving within the ACT Legislative Assembly. (nothing on the ABC website yet)

Wayne is the Presiding member of the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedures. Apparently last week the committee inquired in to the issue of MLAs employing family and close relatives as staff members. I have checked the Legislative Assembly website and the Hansard and Report from this inquiry is not yet on the website, I also rang the Speakers office and they confirmed that the details were not yet published.

Whilst there is a “Members Code of Conduct” that explicitly forbids such conduct from occurring apparently there is no way for the code to actually be enforced. Hence some MLAs are flaunting the code and engaging in nepotism. These MLAs ought to be publicly identified.

Wayne has come out against MLAs engaging in such activity on the basis that it sends the wrong message to the electorate. I have always respected the way that Wayne Berry is always prepared to speak his mind, and cross the floor on matters of principle. In this respect it is a pity that he will be retirng at the end of this term.

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AAM – I’m pretty sure Mal Colston didn’t actually employ lots of his family, he just got them nominally listed on the books, then used their staff canteen card to score extra staff meals.

Jonathon Reynolds6:40 pm 06 Aug 08

A local newspaper has a detailed article on the subject:

I commend Wayne Berry on his intention to introduce a bill to legislate against the practice.

at least it isn’t despotism….

My mother’s divorced and goes by her maiden name, from experience Corbell’s mum does the same.

Anyone know what she’s up to these days?

Mrs Corbell?

By nepotism, we’re talking about just family members, instead of hiring unskilled but enthusiastic close friends of family members, and then letting them ‘grow into the role’ as advisors?

Also, can anyone remember what Simon Corbell’s mother’s name is?

Affirmative Action Man9:04 am 06 Aug 08

I think Mary Porter employs her husband & didn’t Trevor Kaine employ his wife as an assistant.

I recall then senator Mal Colston over the years set some sort of record by employing many family members on his staff in his time in parliament.

It is a despicable practice & good on Wayne Berry for raising it.

Berry is against family members as staff members in the Legislative Assembly but it’s ok for Berry to employ Labor Party hacks and Union heavyweights.

Sorry to clarify – by “factional rival”, I meant someone from the rival faction, not a rival from within the same faction. Now I’ve been sloppy with wording too! It’s contagious tonight.

Yes, it’s a common mistake, like effect/affect, decimate, its/it’s etc etc etc!

Just annoying, as they’re totally different words. She flaunted her tits, thereby flouting the rules against the flaunting of tits.

There you go.

The meaning is not merely different, but in the present instance downright opposite to what was intended. A certain backbencher is FLOUTING the rules but doing so with little publicity. Wayne Berry has responded by FLAUNTING the breach of his factional rival. I heard a commercial radio station name names today, but I am not sure if that would be appropriate. Maybe the Canberra Times will kiss and tell tomorrow?

Jonathon Reynolds9:34 pm 05 Aug 08

Ant, I stand corrected… and obviously a common mistake because the dictionary on my mac advises:

USAGE Flaunt and flout may sound similar but they have different meanings. Flaunt means ‘display ostentatiously,’ as in : tourists who liked to flaunt their wealth, while flout means ‘openly disregard (a rule or convention),’ as in : new recruits growing their hair and flouting convention. It is a common error, since probably around the 1940s, to use flaunt when flout is intended, as in : the young woman had been flaunting the rules and regulations.

“Hence some MLAs are flaunting the code “

Flouting, mate, flouting.

Flaunting means to display ostentatiously. Totally different word. Like using the word “elephant” when you mean “semi-trailer”.

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