Thursday, 4 July 2019
I seek leave to move an amendment to general business notice of motion No. 30 standing in the name of Senator Waters, relating to the attendance of a minister.
That general business notice of motion No. 30 be amended in paragraph (1)(d) by omitting "12.20 pm on 22 July 2019", and substituting "12.00 pm on 23 July 2019".
This recognises that another general business notice of motion sets a time for the minister to attend the Senate on another matter at the same time as is proposed by general business notice of motion No. 30. So this amendment seeks to simply change the time for the explanation to the following day at the start of business.
Question agreed to.
I move the motion as amended:
(1) That the Senate—
(a) notes that current and previous Prime Ministers' Statements of Ministerial Standards clearly provide that ministers must act with honesty and integrity in all their activities, in particular, ministers must:
(i) make arrangements to avoid conflicts arising from their private interests, also having regard to interests held by family members (paragraphs 2.9 and 2.17), and
(ii) not use public office for private purposes (paragraph 2.2);
(b) further notes with deep concern recent reports in The Guardian that:
(i) while Jam Land Pty Ltd, a company part-owned by Mr Angus Taylor MP and his brother, was under investigation by the Department of the Environment for alleged unlawful destruction of critically-endangered grasslands, Minister Taylor met with Department of the Environment staff,
(ii) an investigator from the office responsible for investigating the clearing allegations attended at least one meeting between Minister Taylor and departmental staff, and
(iii) the former Minister for the Environment, Mr Josh Frydenberg, was approached by Mr Angus Taylor in relation to the critically-endangered listing of the grassland species, and Minister Frydenberg subsequently sought advice about his powers to amend the critically-endangered listing;
(c) is of the opinion that there are serious questions about whether this conduct complies with the Ministerial Standards; and
(d) requires that the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Cormann) attend the Senate at 12.00 pm on 23 July 2019 to explain, for a period not longer than 10 minutes:
(i) the conduct of Ministers Taylor and Frydenberg and how it is not a breach of the Ministerial Standards, and
(ii) whether any investigation has been, or will be, undertaken into the conduct of Ministers Taylor and Frydenberg.
(2) That, at the conclusion of the Minister's explanation, any senator may, without notice, move a motion to take note of the Minister's explanation.
(3) That any motion under paragraph (2) may be debated for no longer than 1 hour, and have precedence over all government business until determined, and senators may speak to the motion for not more than 10 minutes