INDEPENDENT COMMISSION AGAINST CORRUPTION AMENDMENT (CODES OF CONDUCT) BILL
The Hon. M. R. EGAN (Treasurer, Minister for Energy, Minister for State and Regional Development, Minister Assisting the Premier, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) [6.31], on behalf of the Hon. J. W. Shaw: I move:
The purpose of the bill is to extend the period for the Standing Committee on Parliamentary Privilege and Ethics of this House and the Legislative Assembly Standing Ethics Committee to present draft codes of conduct to their respective Houses. Under the current provisions of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act the codes must be presented to each of the Houses for consideration by 30 September 1996. The proposed extension is for a period of one month only, to 29 October 1996, to allow the codes to be finalised following the public exhibition and consultation process. I commend the bill to the House.
The Hon. J. H. JOBLING [6.32]: The Opposition supports the bill, which provides for a modest extension of time to allow the House to ensure that any code of conduct adopted will be correct. Any draft code presented to the Legislative Council should be a single code. I understand that the Standing Committee on Parliamentary Privilege and Ethics is extremely well advanced in preparing such a draft code, which we look forward to seeing. The one-month extension will allow time to prepare a code that is correctly worded to achieve the aims and aspirations of members.
The Hon. R. S. L. JONES [6.33]: I support the Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment (Codes of Conduct) Bill, which will allow a brief delay in the production of an appropriate code of conduct. We have had extensive consultations on and lots of public input about the code. Honourable members might be interested in a warning given by a member of the Police Service. He stated that the ICAC needs to be involved in the decision-making process in order to ensure that the codes of conduct are not beyond the resources of the ICAC to police and that they are not used for political purposes. There should be only one code of conduct which applies both to members of the Legislative Assembly and to members of the Legislative Council. Adequate resources must be supplied to the ICAC so that it can effectively police any breaches of the code of conduct. We have to get it right and we need a few more days to do that.
Reverend the Hon. F. J. NILE [6.34]: Call to Australia supports the bill, which provides for the one-month extension of time. Our only concern is that there must be adequate discussion of the draft code. I, and I assume other members of the House, received a copy of the draft code for the Legislative Council. I made a submission on a couple of points which I was concerned about contained in the draft in regard to members having to take into account the principles of the Anti-Discrimination Act: whether its provisions could be used in some way to inhibit members of this House from speaking. We should be careful not to include in the code provisions which could be used to gag members of the House in carrying out their duties. There should be no area on which we cannot speak. It has been suggested that the code for the Legislative Assembly and the code for the Legislative Council be combined. We have only just received a copy of the council code. If the assembly code is to be included we must have time to consider it. The assembly code may include provisions which Legislative Council members are not happy about. This is a very delicate area and we should hasten slowly so that we do not create a monster that can be used against members of this House.
The Hon. M. R. EGAN (Treasurer, Minister for Energy, Minister for State and Regional Development, Minister Assisting the Premier, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) [6.36], in reply: I thank honourable members for their contributions to the debate.
Motion agreed to.
Bill read a second time and passed through remaining stages.
That this bill be now read a second time.