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PM’s office did not take advice on Macfarlane appointment - Ministerial Standards trashed

Media Release
Larissa Waters 17 Oct 2016

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has confirmed in Senate estimates today that the Prime Minister’s office did not ask for advice on former minister Ian Macfarlane’s appointment as CEO of the Queensland Resources Council.

Senator Lee Rhiannon, Greens democracy spokesperson, has called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to disclose the involvement of his office in the Macfarlane appointment.

“It is the DMPC’s job to give advice on these matters, but it appears that the Prime Minister’s Office has done its own thing without seeking advice from the relevant department,” Senator Rhiannon said.

“The conclusion from today’s Estimates is that the Ministerial Standards have been ignored with regard to Mr Macfarlane’s new job.                                                                                                                 

“The Ministerial Standards are supposedly in place to hold ministers to the level of integrity and propriety expected by the public. It appears that there is no process whatsoever for the enforcement of these standards.

“Given the Prime Minister’s representatives at the Finance and Public Administration committee could not answer any questions about how the Prime Minister’s office ‘approved’ the appointment; it is now up to the Prime Minister to answer those questions.  

Senator Larissa Waters, Greens Deputy Leader and resources spokesperson said:

“Either Mr Macfarlane has not been truthful about the PM being 'cool with' his appointment, or the PM’s office have failed to enforce their own Ministerial Standards and done so without seeking any departmental advice.

“Questioning from the Greens today revealed that the PM’s office is happy to ignore the rules when they’re looking out for their big fossil fuel donor mates.

"This is exactly why Australians are sick to death of the revolving door between big money and big political parties,” Senator Waters said.   

Background

  • Mr Macfarlane has accepted a job as CEO of the Queensland Resources Council, ignoring the Statement of Ministerial Standards which requires an 18-month cooling off period before former Ministers “lobby, advocate or have business meetings with members of the government, parliament, public service or defence force on any matters on which they have had official dealings as Minister in their last eighteen months in office.”
  • Mr Macfarlane was Industry Minister until 21 September 2015
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