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Question: Code of Ethics - 'Upset Unionist'

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question to the Minister for Industrial Relations and the Public Sector on the topic of the Public Sector Code of Ethics.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: As many of us in this place would be well aware, there has been an email account called 'Upset Unionist', which has been using a proton email address—

The Hon. R.A. Simms interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Simms!

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: You won't like what I have to say—which has been using a proton email address to circulate information in the past year and has leaked documents, including schedules of Labor caucus seminars. It has now been reported in the newspaper—The Advertiser and I believe elsewhere—that the source of the information is thought to be a junior Liberal staffer, who was mistakenly added to an email distribution list of Labor MLCs and their staff. I understand that has now been corrected, through correspondence from the Premier to the Clerk of this place, and it has been found to be a PNSG error. My questions to the minister are, however:

1. Will the investigation into this matter include whether or not any staffers of members of this parliament have breached the Public Sector Code of Ethics?

2. Does he have any further information for this place about the security of our information?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): I thank the honourable member for her question. I will have to take it on notice to bring back a more complete answer, but certainly there are standards and codes of ethics that apply to everyone who works in the public sector. The application of those is not always as direct for employees strictly under the Public Sector Act as those who work in this place.

However, how you handle information and what you do with information of which you weren't the intended recipient is an important area to look at, and I will certainly make inquiries to see if—I am not sure if there are criminal offences that might have been committed—in relation to the Public Sector Code of Ethics there have been any breaches and what possible sanctions there might be if, for example, information has been handled in a way that breaches such code of ethics.

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