Monday, 10 September 2012
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development) Bill 2012; In Committee
Sometimes there are things you say in the chamber, Senator Heffernan, that live on to come back and bite you. I suspect that will be one of them. Senator Joyce, if you listened to the answer I gave, we were not suggesting that someone who had received funds would be excluded from either the previous or the current committee. So I am not sure the point you are trying to get to. We have not suggested that this rules you out. As was debated and discussed earlier, though people might not agree, there is a process for advising of conflicts of interest just as there is on a whole range of issues on a whole range of boards all across Australia. So that process is in place. There has been some discussion about the minutes, but the minutes reflect this. I can read them out to you, just like I read them out earlier today, where people who have a conflict of interest have to identify clearly in the minutes and those minutes are all ultimately publishable, whether or not they have been up to this point. As I say, we are trying to resolve that issue for you, Senator Waters. If your argument is that it should be a disqualification, please make that argument, but that is not the position that I have been putting forward.