Legislative Council: Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Qantas Chairman's Lounge Membership

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (14:29): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Leader of the Government on the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

Leave granted.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: It was reported in The Advertiser on 25 September that the Premier and nearly his entire cabinet have declared being members of the Qantas Chairman's Lounge, with some omitting it from their register of interests. The article states that a government spokesperson said that:

…under official guidelines in place under successive governments, airline lounge memberships are not classified as gifts provided they are part of [the ministerial] role and are not given in exchange for favour—

but that, and I quote—

All MPs should publicly disclose any membership as the Premier has to the parliament.

The Members of Parliament (Register of Interests) Act quotes:

gift means a transaction in which a benefit of pecuniary value is conferred without consideration or for less than adequate consideration, but does not include an ordinary commercial transaction or a transaction in the ordinary course of business;

My questions to the Leader of the Government are:

1. What is the leader's understanding of whether ministers are or are not required to declare membership of the Qantas Chairman's Lounge?

2. Under what instruments did the leader declare his membership of the chairman's lounge in his own parliamentary register of interests?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:31): I thank the honourable member for her question. I am not aware of any way that I haven't complied with all requirements in terms of declarations in the same manner, in the same form and in the same way as former members of the Liberal government would have done and, as I understand it, likely as the Leader of the Opposition in the lower house, the member for Black, does in terms of his register of interests and his membership of the chairman's lounge.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! I will listen to your supplementary after the Hon. Mr Wortley ceases to interject—and the Hon. Mr Hunter.