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PM seeks advice on Pyne's post-politics job

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has written to the head of his department seeking clarification on the ministerial code of conduct in relation to two former high-ranking Liberal colleagues.

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Former defence minister Christopher Pyne and ex-foreign minister Julie Bishop have come under fire for jobs they’ve taken since leaving politics.

Government Senate leader Mathias Cormann said Morrison had written to Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Martin Parkinson for clarification on how the ministerial code of conduct applies to all previous governments.

Cormann said the prime minister also asked what actions could be taken in relation to the code, making reference to former ministers in the Morrison government.

Pyne has a new defence-focused role with professional services giant EY, while Bishop has been appointed to the board of an aid contractor.

The code stipulates that ministers must not lobby or have business meetings with politicians or public servants within 18 months of leaving parliament, on matters they dealt with in their final 18 months in office.

Centre Alliance’s Rex Patrick had been pushing for an inquiry into Pyne’s job, but put that on hold after learning Morrison had written to Parkinson.

Pyne this week came under fire from his own side of politics, with South Australian Liberal backbencher Tony Pasin saying Pyne’s new job doesn’t pass the “pub test”.

Pasin said yesterday it wasn’t up to him to determine whether Pyne has or could breach the code, but it doesn’t look good.

“Ultimately this is a question of personal judgement,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

“Right now, I think the fact we’re talking about it is because the average punter out there doesn’t think it passes the pub test.

“I come from the law … if there’s a perceived conflict of interest it operates just like any other conflict of interest.”

EY says Pyne will provide occasional high-level strategic advice that did not involve using any information received as a minister.

– with AAP

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