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New South Wales Premier to take questions from Kiama MP Gareth Ward by notice only, despite commission findings

New South Wales Prime Minister Chris Mings has refused to question Kiama MP Gareth Ward in parliament despite an inquiry warning the government not to move to suspend MPs facing criminal charges. said to continue.

Ward, a former Liberal minister and now an independent member of parliament, was indicted on historic sexual assault charges and suspended at the last parliamentary session in 2022.

he has pleaded not guilty to the charges and was re-elected in March. Ward is scheduled to stand trial next year.

situation The Congressional Privileged Ethics Committee warned this week It said the government should “seriously consider the negative risks to Congress, voters, victims of alleged crimes, and presumed innocence” when evaluating whether a suspension is appropriate.

In response to Thursday’s report, Mins said he would accept the findings of the investigation but would continue the practice of accepting Ward’s questions only when notified.

“He is still facing very serious charges,” Mins said.

“I’m not going to judge these charges or the events that should ultimately happen, but I’m also not going to pretend they don’t exist.”

Prime Minister Chris Mins said he would also reject Mr Ward’s vote on the bill in the House of Commons.()

The prime minister has already ignored two of Kiama’s questions while awaiting the results of the investigation, and has received only one line of written responses from the government to questions on disability inclusion and homelessness.

“A reasonable person would recognize that there is an inherent conflict of interest in questioning executives about a particular issue, and the best thing to do would be to accept that and formally address questions of executives,” Mins said. to respond to,” he said.

The prime minister also said he would refuse to accept Mr Ward’s vote on the bill in the House of Commons.

“We don’t want to end up in a situation where the government gets a bad name because we’ve relied on Mr. Ward’s vote,” Mings said.

Voters are ‘disrespected’

Ward said he was upset by the prime minister’s decision and believed it was “a complete disrespect for the electorate”.

Ward was suspended by Congress last year after being accused of historic crimes.()

“If the prime minister thinks he can somehow discourage me from asking questions, he will have more questions because I have a lot of issues I want to raise for the community,” he said. .

Ward said the prime minister is trying to be a two-way street.

“While he makes no judgments, he treats me completely differently than other members of the house. This is very prejudiced on his part,” he said.

He said the reaction showed Mings to be “arrogant and ignorant of common sense.”

Opposition leader Mark Speakman condemned the prime minister’s decision.

“The Prime Minister’s choice not to immediately answer Gareth Ward’s questions in the House of Commons is an insult to voters in Kiama City, who have been re-elected despite the very serious charges against Ward,” he said.

Senator’s motion rejected

Mings said Congress was in a “strange position” after Ward introduced a motion to investigate ambulance services a few weeks ago.

“Clearly the question for all members of Congress to ask is whether he is the most appropriate person to bring the motion given the serious criminal charges he faces,” he said.

After a 95-year-old woman was tased to death by police at a Cooma nursing home, Ward will set up a commission to examine the adequacy of training frontline workers for dementia patients. was.

The motion was unsuccessful, with House Leader Ron Hoenig calling it “a clear political stunt.”

“If he is serious about the need, I will remind him that he is the king’s minister and that the previous government has been in power for 12 years,” Mr Hoenig told parliament.

To celebrate his re-election, Mr. Ward will invite 400 supporters to an event in Congress’ Strangers Dining Room.

“They are my supporters. They come from their constituencies on buses and trains. [I’m] We look forward to welcoming them to Parliament,” he said.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-06-08/nsw-premier-chris-minns-to-refuse-kiama-mp-gareth-ward-questions/102451730 New South Wales Premier to take questions from Kiama MP Gareth Ward by notice only, despite commission findings

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