Thursday, 4 July 2019
Questions without Notice
Pyne, Mr Christopher
My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. Former Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne announced he had taken a position with EY stating that he was 'looking forward to providing strategic advice to Ernst & Young as the firm looks forward to expanding its footprint in the defence industry'. In response, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator Birmingham, warned that 'everybody should adhere to that code of conduct, and that includes Christopher'. I note the statement made by Minister Cormann to the Senate earlier today. When did the Prime Minister write to his secretary asking him to investigate Mr Pyne's employment with Ernst & Young?
Thank you, Mr President. Senator Abetz has said: 'People do expect a standard from the ministers, and then former ministers, to ensure that that which they have learned and gleaned from their ministerial roles are not imported into other roles on which they can potentially gain financially.' Has the Prime Minister or his office discussed Mr Pyne's employment with EY with Mr Pyne? If so, when and with whom did the discussion take place?
I am aware of a public statement that former minister Pyne issued in relation to some of these other matters. But I will take them on notice. As I have indicated to the Senate, the Prime Minister has written to Dr Parkinson seeking advice on these matters, as appropriate. And, as I have indicated to the chamber, we will provide an update on these matters in due course.
Thank you, Mr President. The Liberal member for Barker, Tony Pasin, has said: 'What I do know is the fact that we are talking about it is indicative that it just doesn't pass the pub test.' While the Prime Minister's secretary is investigating Mr Pyne's employment with Ernst & Young, what arrangements are in place to ensure Mr Pyne does not take advantage of information obtained due to his former ministerial responsibilities?
There is absolutely no indication that former minister Christopher Pyne has or is acting in breach of the Statement of Ministerial Standards, but the Prime Minister has sought advice in relation to these matters, as I have indicated to the chamber—
As I have indicated to the chamber, the Prime Minister sought advice from Dr Parkinson and I'll provide an update at the appropriate time. With that, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.