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Western Australian Government To Toughen MPs Disclosure Laws

The Gallop Labor government in Western Australia is to introduce sweeping new financial disclosure rules for WA members of parliament.

The new rules include requiring MPs to disclose information about family holdings and publishing details of MPs’ financial interests on the internet.

Text of a media statement released by the Western Australian Premier, Geoff Gallop.

GallopThe Gallop Government is to introduce sweeping new financial disclosure rules for Western Australian Members of Parliament as part of a push to raise Parliamentary standards and increase public trust in elected members.

Premier Geoff Gallop today announced State Cabinet had approved a package of reforms including:

  • publishing MPs’ financial interests on the Internet;
  • requiring MPs’ to disclose relevant information about family holdings; and
  • requiring MPs to disclose details of their future employment within 30 days of retiring from Parliament.The move honours a key election pledge of the Government.

Dr Gallop said the proposed changes to the Members of Parliament (Financial Interests) Act 1992 increased transparency and accountability.

“The changes involve broadening the interests that must be disclosed to include bonds/debentures, savings investment accounts and assets worth more than $5,000, excluding personal ands household items,” he said.

“In addition, Cabinet has given in principle support to extending the disclosure rules to key ministerial advisers, statutory board office holders and public servants in sensitive roles.”

The families of MPs would be required disclose assets that were part of the financial arrangements of the member.

“These sweeping new reforms are aimed at ensuring the public has greater confidence in the conduct of Parliamentarians,” Dr Gallop said.

“By broadening the scope of disclosure to include some relevant family interests, we are further protecting that public trust and ensuring transparency of Government.”

The information to be disclosed by MPs would be more detailed and would need to be updated more regularly under the proposals. The Procedures and Privileges Committee that enforced the Act would also be required to report the reasons for recommended sanctions it imposed on MPs.

Other proposed changes that arose from a broad review of the Act by Government Whip Margaret Quirk included:

  • changing the register of interests to allow an historic picture of MPs interests rather than just their current interests;
  • extending the category of interests to be disclosed to include bonds, debentures and savings investment accounts worth more than $5,000;
  • increasing training for MPs and non-elected officials covered by the proposed changes to ensure greater awareness of the disclosure rules and to further educate them on expected standards and codes of conduct;
  • expanding the need to disclose certain interests or income earned in parallel employment undertaken by MPs;
  • incorporating relevant provisions from the MPs Code of Conduct into the Act; and
  • undertaking a separate inquiry into the issue of conflicts of interest arising from post-Parliamentary employment for MPs.
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Malcolm Farnsworth
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