Bishop urges overhaul of ministerial rules
FORMER foreign minister Julie Bishop has called for ministerial standards to be changed in a submission to a federal parliamentary inquiry scrutinising her post-politics job.
The Senate committee is looking at whether Ms Bishop and former defence minister Christopher Pyne breached ministerial standards by accepting controversial jobs soon after retiring from politics.
Ms Bishop has been appointed to the board of foreign aid firm Palladium, while Mr Pyne has picked up a defence-focused role with professional services giant EY.
She said an amendment to the statement of ministerial standards would make them more workable and enforceable.
"The onus could and arguably should be placed upon current serving officials to not hold meetings with former ministers for the period of 18 months after those ministers cease to hold office," her submission said.
Ms Bishop said ministers and government officials were subject to ongoing scrutiny through parliament and the media.
"There is obvious redress available with regard to current serving ministers and officials, should they breach this protocol," she wrote.
The standards state ministers must not lobby or have business meetings with politicians or public servants within 18 months of leaving parliament, on matters they dealt with in their final 18 months in office.
Ms Bishop said she complied with ministerial standards because she had not and did not intend to lobby, advocate or have business meetings with government MPs or the public service.
"Further, I have given an undertaking that I will not take personal advantage of information to which I had access as a minister, where that information is not generally available to the public," she said.
EY, the company Mr Pyne got a consulting role with after leaving politics, gave a detailed timeline to the inquiry showing discussions about the job which started in the days after he announced his retirement.
He was formally offered a job on April 17 and accepted it three days later, with the position commencing on June 1, after the May 18 election.
"Ultimately, only Mr Pyne can ensure compliance with the statement of ministerial standards," the submission said.
The company said it had not and would not ask for the former minister to have official meetings with the government on any matters which he had official dealings with as a minister.
"EY has not sought, nor has Mr Pyne provided to EY, any confidential information to which Mr Pyne had access as a minister."
The committee will hold a public hearing in Canberra on Friday.