That was a question posed by Virginia Trioli of @TheirABC this morning to Scott Morrison. This is in relation to a water buy-back that is causing some kerfuffle. The correct answer is:
No. What impression, precisely, does it cause? Explain to me, precisely, what your allegation is.
But people don’t do that.
This whole “perceived conflict of interest” shtick needs to be called out. It exposes individuals to having to defend themselves from vague allegations dreamt up by conspiracy theorists.
This was a particularly enjoyable segment of the recent Ridd v JCU judgement.
- This is an extremely peculiar finding by the University. The University has found that Professor Ridd preferred his own interests, and those of the Institute of Public Affairs (“the IPA”), above the interests of the University. The University found that this was in breach of the obligations under the Code of Conduct to “take reasonable steps to avoid, or disclose and manage, any conflict of interest (actual, potential or perceived) in the course of employment”.
- During the course of the trial, I repeatedly asked Counsel for the University to tell me what the conflict of interest actually was. Try as he might, Counsel was unable to do so. Yet he would not concede that this finding was not justified.
- As I said during the course of the trial, I could understand if there was an allegation that Professor Ridd declined to fulfil his duties to the University and instead went off on a frolic for the IPA. I could also understand if there was a demonstrable conflict between the University and the IPA and Professor Ridd put the IPA above the University.
- But there are no allegations of this sort.
- The fact that the University would not concede that this finding was unjustified, yet made no submissions to allow me to even consider how the finding was justified, is symptomatic of the way in which they have conducted this litigation.
Just made up – yet enough to get you sacked.