Probe clears former ministers

FEDERAL POLITICS:

The senior public servant who conducted an investigation into the new jobs of two former federal cabinet ministers says both have been cleared of any breach of the federal government’s ministerial code of conduct.

Deputy Under-Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Yasmine Isster, said the code laid down strict guidelines to ensure former ministers did not use public or private information from their previous jobs for commercial gain.

“I am aware that both Julie Bishop as former foreign minister and Christopher Pyne (main picture) as former defence minister have accepted positions with companies that have interests in areas touching upon both former ministers’ previous portfolio responsibilities,” Ms Isster said.

“But my investigation has cleared them of any conflict. It also showed no breach of the ministerial code of conduct.

“As such, both Ms Bishop and Mr Pyne are now free to take up their new, highly paid roles with private sector companies.”

Asked how long her investigation took and what it involved, Ms Isster was at first reluctant to respond.

“Look, I have fulfilled the task the government asked me to undertake and the important thing is the investigation has showed up no problems with the new jobs of both former ministers,” she said.

But when pressed, Ms Isster was more expansive on how the probe was conducted.

“The investigation was conducted in the usual manner and followed the usual process for handling these sorts of issues,” she said.

“Basically I rang both Ms Bishop and Mr Pyne and asked if they would be obeying the code and both told me yes, they would. So the investigation was done and dusted pretty quickly really.”