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Code of Conduct Amendment

18 November 2021

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I move to amend proposed new standing order 455B:

After 'Code of Conduct', first appearing, insert 'and should a Member wilfully contravene the Code, the Council may require the Member to apologise; or pay a fine; or may suspend the Member from the service of the Council.'

This is a straightforward inclusion. It is modelled on the code of conduct that operates in the state of Victoria. I understand the points the honourable Treasurer has made in terms of wanting to ensure uniformity between the houses, but at the same time I think we have a responsibility to ensure that any code we put in place is effective and has real teeth.

I think the people of South Australia expect that if you do the wrong thing in a workplace you face consequences, that you face potential sanction or penalty. It would send the wrong message if we supported a range of laudable principles today, but we did not actually stipulate what consequences may flow for members of parliament who do the wrong thing. I think it is appropriate that we put some of those things in the standing orders.

Members may well ask how great would a fine be, or how long would a suspension last. The Victorian legislation provides some clarity on this and so if we were to establish this principle in the parliament today then we could certainly finesse that down the track. I think this is an important principle for us to establish. It is one that the community will expect of us and I am hoping that this chamber will support the amendment being advanced by the Greens.