House debates

Tuesday, 27 March 2018


Billson, Mr Bruce; Censure

1:04 pm

Photo of Ross VastaRoss Vasta (Bonner, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—I move:

That the House censure the former member for Dunkley, Mr Bruce Billson, for failing to discharge his obligations as a Member to the House in taking up paid employment for services to represent the interests of an organisation while he was a Member of the House, and failing to fulfil his responsibilities as a Member by appropriately declaring his personal and pecuniary interests, in respect of this paid employment, in accordance with the resolutions and standing orders of the House.

Photo of Rob MitchellRob Mitchell (McEwen, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Is the motion seconded?

Photo of Pat ConroyPat Conroy (Shortland, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure) Share this | | Hansard source

I second the motion to censure Mr Billson, and I do so with a sense of gravity. Parliament censuring someone—expressing severe disapproval of their actions—is a very significant course. It's a course that the Privileges Committee recommended to the House, in this instance, based on the failure of Mr Billson to give primacy to acting in the public interest and ensuring that there was no actual or perceived conflict of interest. The committee found that that did not occur.

I want to say to people outside of this chamber that censuring someone is an incredibly serious course of action. Ultimately, when we leave this place, our greatest and most lasting asset is our reputation. This motion goes to that, so it's a very serious course of action for parliament to take. It's very rare for a motion of censure to originate from a recommendation of the Privileges Committee and then be adopted by the House, and I want to stress that the recommendation was from a bipartisan committee with over 150 years of parliamentary experience on it. I support the motion.

Question agreed to.