“Proposed Legislation for Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament: What You Need to Know”

Attorney-General Graham Leung is poised to seek Cabinet’s approval to begin drafting legislation for a code of conduct for members of parliament.

The necessity for a Code of Conduct for leaders, including Ministers and Members of Parliament, is laid out in section 149 of the Constitution.

Leung explained that the Code of Conduct Bill 2016 (Bill No. 22 of 2016) was initially introduced in Parliament in 2016 and was read twice. However, the Bill was then referred to the Standing Committee of Justice, Law, and Human Rights for further review. During this review period, Parliament was dissolved, causing the Bill to lapse.

He emphasized that the Government has a constitutional duty to enforce Section 149.

Leung noted that codes of conduct are already in place within the public service and many private sector organizations.

“As early as 1996, the Reeves Commission, whose work contributed to the adoption of the 1997 Constitution, recommended an Integrity Code in the Constitution, akin to a Code of Conduct. This recommendation aimed to ensure that national leaders do not exploit their office for personal gain.”

“A Code of Conduct is a crucial component of the Government’s integrity system. It will promote ethical behavior, reduce integrity risks within the government, and allow Parliament, as the foremost political institution, to operate more efficiently.”

Leung stated that this initiative would bolster transparency and public accountability among leaders, thereby enhancing public trust in the government.

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