Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a personal explanation.
On 30 May in Senate estimates I was asked questions concerning a former business activity. A false assertion was made suggesting a continuation of business activity. This is obviously untrue. The facts are that on Friday, 2 March 2012 it was announced that I would be appointed as foreign minister. Immediately after that, on Monday, 5 March, I took steps to resign my directorships of commercial companies and I ceased all commercial arrangements and activity. My business ceased to trade on that date and instructions were given to my accountant to provide all appropriate notification to ASIC and to cancel GST registration of my dormant private company. These actions left a single bank account in my name and a dormant entity. No business activity was conducted from that date. The place of business and the business address for the dormant entity have been amended and reflect the fact that all business activity at my Bligh Street office ceased on or before 5 March. There is no actual possible conflict associated with my retention of a single share in my own dormant company—no conflict whatsoever between my private interest and my public responsibilities. I am further advised that this is entirely consistent with the standard of ministerial ethics.