By Greg Warren MP

20 June 2024

Mr GREG WARREN (Campbelltown) (13:23): I make a brief contribution to debate on the Independent Commission Against Corruption Amendment (Ministerial Diary Disclosure) Bill 2024. At the outset, I reiterate my professional and personal view, and indeed commitment, to the level of credibility and integrity that members in this place should always have. The standard we walk past is the standard that we accept. Members on the other side of the Chamber like to throw rocks at everything, including political parties and previous history. I do not see that as being constructive. I believe that the vast majority of our colleagues, irrespective of where they are from and what they do, are in here for the right reasons and do the right thing. I believe the bill is undermining our important profession as legislators. We must always uphold the highest degree of credibility and integrity.

In that vein, I will correct the record. The former Leader of the Opposition, now Premier, disclosed his diary. I am advised that so did Jodi McKay and Michael Daley when they were leaders of the Opposition. I note and am also advised that the current Leader of the Opposition has not disclosed his diary. I would urge the Leader of the Opposition to reconsider his position and fully disclose his diary to ensure that the people of New South Wales have faith and trust in that process.

The Government does not support the private member's bill. I believe the member for Kiama is simply posturing. I know that Ministers, including me as a Parliamentary Secretary, are required to act with transparency. Even if that was not required, I would do it because I have got nothing to hide. That is the reality. Ministers are already required to publish quarterly summaries of their diaries in accordance with the Premier's Memorandum M2015-05 entitled Publication of Ministerial Diaries and Release of Overseas Travel Information. The private member's bill pre-empts the Government's consideration and recommendations regarding ministerial diary disclosure obligations and broader lobbying reforms in the ICAC's Operation Eclipse report.

I also have a professional and personal position where I do not believe it is just, equitable, fair or right for us to make commentary on matters that are being investigated, whether by the ICAC, our authorities, or our police. Previous commentary from members opposite earlier today is a great example. I believe their comments were grossly unnecessary, grossly wrong and grossly unfair. We live in a social democracy where we are innocent until proven guilty—unless you charged under the Defence Force Discipline Act, where you are guilty until you can prove your innocence, as most soldiers and service personnel would be aware. That was a joke! I reflect back to my time in the army; ultimately that was the shared view amongst my comrades and colleagues at that time.

I use this opportunity to reiterate that I believe that many of our colleagues, irrespective of persuasion, do the right thing. We see it. We have debates in this place and we disagree. That is fine; that is what we do. That is the cornerstone of democracy and that is how we operate. We are entitled to disagree as we make representations. To suggest or insinuate that members more broadly and holistically do not comply or are not doing the right thing, is unfair. It is an unfair insinuation on our current Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and anyone else who is required to provide full disclosure. Frankly, it is unfair on previous Ministers and Premiers, many of whom did the right thing.

At times there can be oversights. Everyone is accepting of that because everyone makes mistakes. If that occurs, those matters are investigated because those processes are already in place. I do not think any member in this place could effectively argue that we do not have tight rules, conditions and processes in place in the Parliament of New South Wales to address those concerns when they arise. We know, and we cannot sugar coat it, that at times members have done the wrong thing deliberately. But we know our processes are working by virtue of the fact that those members were found out, which means that they are adequate. The leadership of our Premiers and Ministers is substantiated. I do not believe the member for Kiama's posturing on this issue does anyone any favours.