John Robertson introduces landmark bill for compulsory publication of Minister’s diaries

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NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson has invited Premier Mike Baird to back landmark legislation that makes it compulsory for Ministers to publish monthly public diaries, enforces their accountability to ICAC – and imposes a comprehensive new standard of financial disclosure requirements on MPs.

Unfortunately, the Liberal Government voted this morning to block debate today on the Bill introduced by Robertson.

Labor’s Bill requires MPs to declare:

  • Full taxable income, including investments, trusts and outside business interests;
  • Spouses and dependants’ pecuniary interests; and
  • Any contracts held by family members with the NSW Government.

Ministers would also be required to publish a monthly online diary of all meetings, phone conversations or other interactions with lobbyists, private companies or MPs relating to commercial transactions or decisions.

In addition, ICAC will be empowered for the first time to issue corruption findings related to serious breaches of the NSW Government Ministerial Code of Conduct. These reforms were recommended by ICAC in a report dated October 2013.

“Today I called on Mike Baird to join with Labor and support reforms to deliver honest, open and accountable Government,” Mr Robertson said.

“Mike Baird has now been in the job for three weeks but has still taken no action to clean up politics in NSW.

“The public needs to look at the members of this Parliament and know that each of us is here to serve the community, not ourselves.

“In light of the continued revelations in ICAC, the people of NSW are understandably disillusioned. The challenge of restoring faith in our democracy belongs to all sides of politics.”

Robertson said that people across NSW had a right to know whether their MP earns significant income from investments and other sources.

“The public must have confidence that MPs are not hiding their interests in the name of a family member,” Robertson said.

“Making Ministers’ contact with lobbyists available online is a key element in achieving greater transparency and accountability.

“For too long, Ministers’ interactions with lobbyists and major corporations regarding commercial deals have been kept hidden from the public. The people of NSW deserve to know who their elected representatives are meeting with, and which interests may be influencing Ministers.”

The measures proposed today build on measures Robertson has already enforced on his own front bench as part of his “New Standard” package.

 

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