Bishop and Pyne criticised over post-Parliament jobs

Bishop and Pyne criticised over post-Parliament jobs

Former Liberal MPs Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne have been criticised for taking up jobs with companies with interests related to their former ministerial portfolios.

Both Ms Bishop and Mr Pyne held ministerial positions until they stepped aside at the last federal election.

As Foreign Minister, Ms Bishop oversaw the privatisation of foreign aid spending, and now works for aid contractor Palladium, a major beneficiary of the Coalition’s policy.

Mr Pyne, formerly Defence Minister, has taken an advisory position at Ernst & Young, which is looking to expand its place in the defence industry.

Labor’s Senate leader Penny Wong said Ms Bishop’s new job is in breach of ministerial standards and called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to act, while Liberal MP Tony Pasin said Mr Pyne’s role at Ernst & Young is in breach of lobbying standards.

The Prime Minister’s non-enforceable Statement on Ministerial Standards forbids former ministers from “taking advantage of information to which they have had access as a minister, where that information is not generally available to the public.”

Senator Wong said Ms Bishop has breached this standard.

“The statement by Palladium makes it clear Ms Bishop has been appointed because of her unique knowledge,” she said.

“Ms Bishop has been appointed to the board of a company which profited from decisions she made as a minister.”

The Ministerial Standards also say that ministers must “not lobby, advocate or have business meetings with members of the government, parliament, public service or defence force on any matters on which they have had dealings as minister in their last 18 months in office”.

Support for an inquiry into the effectiveness of the standards is growing, with the Senate preparing to debate a bill introduced by Senator Rex Patrick to examine the matter.

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