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
Without labouring the point, and further to Senator Joyce's line of questioning: I understand what the minister says, that the government does not necessarily want to disqualify—
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: Senator Xenophon, just a moment: Senator Heffernan is talking to the minister and I am not sure if you have the minister's full attention for the moment. I think he is being a bit distracted. We will let Senator Heffernan walk between myself as chair and you again, Senator Xenophon, I assume.
Senator Xenophon, you have the call.
Thank you. Does the government have any broad policy position as to how it deals with issues of conflict? I understand what the minister has said. There is a position where if someone is working for an institution that is doing work or research, for instance, for the coal seam gas industry, it would not disqualify them. But if, for instance, that institution has a budget of $10 million a year and $8 million of that funding happens to come from the industry what would occur then? And what happens in cases where a person is a consultant and they are getting a significant proportion of their pay cheque directly from the industry? There are issues of gradations and degrees; is there a broad policy parameter on how the government would deal with this, or is it just in terms of general public service guidelines in dealing with issues of conflict?