Misha Ketchell writes:

The first question in yesterday’s question time on the Robert Gerard scandal raised the interesting issue of the declarations that appointees to government boards and bodies are required to sign.

Mr SWAN (2.00 pm)—My question is to the Treasurer, and relates to Mr Gerard’s appointment to the Reserve Bank board. Did the Treasurer say to Mr Gerard: I know there’s an issue with the Tax Office but I don’t have a problem with you on the board.

Mr COSTELLO—I have no problem with Mr Gerard as a member of the Reserve Bank board. I think he brings a great understanding of Australian manufacturing industry to the board. But seeing as this question today was totally anticipated, let me answer the question in some detail. Any person who is considered for an appointment to any Commonwealth government body is required to sign a declaration of interest which states that they have no private interests, including those of a taxation nature, that would conflict with their responsibilities or cause embarrassment to the government.

It’s an interesting catch-all isn’t it, saying that you’re not going to cause embarrassment to the Government? (Sort of raises a few issues about frank and fearless advice, but that’s another story.) A Crikey source, also recently appointed to a Government body, has sent us the copy declaration that he – and presumably also Gerard – was asked to sign: