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Public servants should declare all their interests: Labor MP

The declarations cover items such as food, free or discounted travel or even lucky door prizes at conferences.

But Mr Gorman, who was once an adviser to prime minister Kevin Rudd, said there should be even more transparency about the financial and community links of senior public servants.

“We’ve only half-done the job,” he told The Sunday Age and The Sun-Herald.

Federal politicians, at the start of every parliamentary term, have to reveal their own and their family members’ financial and personal interests. These include financial holdings such as mortgages, partnerships, shares, directorships and substantial assets.

The register also includes gifts worth more than $300. Former sports minister Bridget McKenzie, facing demands for her sacking over her role in the allocation of $100 million worth of grants to community organisations, did not declare to the Senate her membership of a Victorian gun club as it was worth less than $300.


The club received $36,000 in funding.

Politicians also have to update the register of interests through their parliamentary terms.

Mr Gorman said that, by following the lead of politicians in declaring their interests, senior public servants would be able to quell any concerns about their advice being affected by financial or community links.

He said there should be a “why not” approach to deciding which senior public servants were forced to declare interests.

“This is about given people greater confidence about the very good job that they do,” he said.

Mr Gorman, who envisages the register would be overseen by the Prime Minister’s Office or the head of his department, said public companies required their senior staff and directors to declare their financial interests.

Senior public servants should be no different.

“You’re often talking about people who are much better paid than the prime minister,” he said.

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