Tuesday 23 May
Senator RHIANNON: For three decades this parliament has been discussing the introduction of a code of conduct for senators and MPs in the House of Representatives. Could you tell us where those discussions are up to after three decades please?
Senator Brandis: To whom is your question directed?
Senator RHIANNON: Maybe to the secretary. To whoever has the most information about it.
Senator Brandis: I do not think it has got anything to do with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. I think the conduct of members of parliament as members of parliament is not a matter for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. It is a matter for the respective chambers.
Senator RHIANNON: I was actually directed, after seeking advice, to come here and put the questions. If you want to direct me somewhere else, Attorney-General, I would be happy to take your advice.
Senator Brandis: We are all subject, of course, to the wisdom of the chair, but I would have thought a question of codes of conduct for members of parliament as members of parliament would be a matter for the respective parliamentary chambers.
Senator RHIANNON: But there have been times in those three decades when the Prime Minister's office has given it attention, and possibly you could even say 'driven' it. I am just trying to find out where it is up to.
Senator Brandis: I am not aware of them. I do not think these are questions for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Senator RHIANNON: Could we ask the Secretary or the Deputy Secretary: has there been any updates or any request for briefs or anything at all?
Ms Kelly: No, it is not a matter for which the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has any responsibility.
Senator RHIANNON: Is that no responsibility at all, or is it just that there is no action being taken at the moment?
Ms Kelly: No responsibility in the sense that it relates to the legislature, and our concerns extend to the executive.
Senator Brandis: The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is a department of the executive government, but you are inquiring about the legislative arm of government.
Senator RHIANNON: Okay, I will go back and ask again where to go.