Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020
20th October 2020
Mr GREG PIPER (Lake Macquarie) (12:40:11): I speak on the amendments to the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020 agreed to in the other place. I understand that the Government will accept those amendments, and I understand why it would do so. Given the current circumstances and the doubts about the integrity of this House and this Parliament more broadly, it is appropriate that we clarify the expectations that the people of New South Wales have of members of this House. The situation that we witnessed recently has been absolutely extraordinary. I do not think any member in this place would defend what has occurred with the former member for Wagga Wagga.
We have heard a lot of discussion about the history of corruption in this place. Time does not allow me to list all of it because it goes back a mighty long way. Members of government have the greatest opportunity for corruption and the highest risk of being identified as corrupt. Generally the Opposition has the greatest opportunity for moral indignation. Certainly we are hearing that in this place today. As a crossbench member who has been in this Parliament for quite some time, I do not think either side of this House owns the issues of corruption. We know that that is the case so we should not be too quick to judge one side or the other. However, we need to continue to push for improvement.
I have said in this place in relation to a number of matters, including contributions to political parties, that as we look to strengthen the rules there will always be others who look for opportunities to get around them. That is simply the reality of what happens in this place. So it is incumbent upon all members of the Parliament—not only on Government members—to continue to identify the risks and to stand up when we see something wrong. That does not mean any one of us will not fail from time to time. However, it is a genuinely and strongly held expectation of the people of New South Wales that we will do the right thing in this place. That is what we are here for, as the member for Maitland said. We are here to work for the people of New South Wales who do not accept that a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary should have some sort of secondary earner on the side, whether through direct or indirect benefit, during their time here or, hopefully, after that.
The amendments to the bill are not the end of what we must do; they are the start of it. We must continue to look at this issue. It is early days in considering what has happened but the amendments to the bill are a good start and I will—along with other members of the crossbench, I am sure—fully support the amendments.
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