As it’s been widely reported I resigned from my ministry on Sunday February the 2nd due to breaches of the prime minister’s statement of ministerial standards. I’ve publicly apologised for this and today I wish to further apologise to the Senate, so it’s lovely we actually had a vote so that we could all be here.
I do not believe the gifted membership of the Australian Clay Target Association or my paid membership to Field and Game Australia contributed any real or apparent conflict of interest. However, I acknowledge my mistake in failing to declare these as required in the statement of ministerial standards in a timely way. I’ve also updated my Senate statement of interests, which states that senators much declare being an office holder or where they’ve contributed more than $300 to an organisation.
I am a member, a proud member, of Field and Game Australia, Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, Australian Deer Association, and the Country Women’s Association. I’m not an office holder of any of these organisations, nor have I provided them with any donations, which is a declarable requirement under the Senate’s statement of interests.
I’m no longer a member of the Australian Clay Target Association and therefore Wangaratta Clay Target Club, which commenced on the 29th of January 2019 and ceased on December 30 2019.
Having reviewed all my memberships in the recent weeks, I’ve become aware that I was a member of the Victorian Farmers Federation Ag-Force Country Connection, the Melbourne Cricket Club and Yarrawonga-Mulwala, a fabulous golf club, during 2019. All of these memberships have since ceased. None of my memberships have caused real or apparent conflicts of interest to my role, either as minister or as senator for Victoria.
However, I’ve chosen to fully disclose all my memberships to the Senate on this day to ensure complete transparency both to the Senate and the broader Australian community. I’ve been a senator for nine years and have the deepest respect for this chamber of parliament, which is so important to our democracy. I regret any confusion caused concerning my declaration of interests, and I apologise to each and every one of my fellow senators, for my transgression with regard to the register of interest. Thank you.