Standards in public life
The Cabinet Manual contains
guidelines on the public duty and private interests of Ministers and Parliamentary
Under Secretaries. Identifying and managing potential or apparent conflicts
of interest is an important aspect of being a Minister.
Ministers must ensure that
no conflict exists or appears to exist between their public duty and their
private interests. Conflicts of interest can arise because of the influence
and power they wield – both in the individual performance of their
portfolio responsibilities and as members of Cabinet. Ministers must conduct
themselves at all times in the knowledge that their role is a public one;
appearances and propriety can be as important as actual conflicts of interest
in establishing what is acceptable behaviour.
To identify any personal interests that might influence them, all members
of Parliament, including Ministers, must lodge an annual declaration of
the following kinds of interests:
- remunerated directorships
- substantial interest in
a business enterprise or professional practice
- ownership of shares or
beneficial interest in a trust
- ownership of property.
In 2006 all MPs began to make the same type of annual declaration of
interests outlined here for Ministers. The MPs Pecuniary Interests Register
replaced the Ministers' Interests register from 2006. The Office of
the Clerk is responsible for the MPs register declaring interests, and
at the outset it delegated this role to a former Ombudsman, Anand Satyanand.
The prior register
for Ministers and Parliamentary Under-Secretaries was maintained
in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
When, from time to time, conflicts arise between the public duty of
Ministers and their private interests, the Cabinet Manual sets out procedures
to manage those conflicts. There are also guidelines for approving ministerial
travel overseas, and the relationship between Ministers and Public Service
Updated 10 February 2006