This is from the ABC a voice not known to be anti Labor.
Its a worry.
Proper corporate governance is essential in Government.
Perhaps Ms McKew should step down.
Opposition demands McKew step down over contract 'conflict'
Posted 4 hours 32 minutes ago
The Federal Opposition is demanding parliamentary secretary Maxine McKew step down pending an investigation of her senior adviser's links with a company that won lucrative Government contracts.
The Government maintains Ms McKew's office was not involved in awarding the Allen Consulting Group two Education Department contracts worth $412,000.
Ms McKew is the Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education and Child Care.
Kathleen Forrester, a senior adviser to the Labor MP, is a former employee of Allen Consulting Group and held shares in the company.
Under the ministerial staff code of conduct, Ms Forrester was required to divest herself of any shareholdings related to Ms McKew's responsibilities.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd today said it was his understanding that Ms Forrester took steps to shed her interest in the Allen Consulting Group before taking the job as Ms McKew's adviser.
"I also understand that the staffer in question declared her interest in this company in her statement of private interest to the Parliamentary Secretary, consistent with the ministerial staff code of conduct," Mr Rudd told Parliament today.
However, an email from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations confirms Ms Forrester did not sell the shares until after the contracts were awarded to her former employer.
The first contract was awarded in August and the second just three weeks ago.
Ms Forrester joined Ms McKew's office on May 12, and the process of divesting her shares was not completed until September 30.
Mr Rudd said that neither Ms McKew nor her office played any role in the procurement process for the contracts in question.
"The contract was awarded by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations," he said.
"Ms McKew ... is sworn to administer the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, not the department engaged in this contracting process."
Mr Rudd said the Government staffing committee would examine the staff member's conduct consistent with the staff code of conduct.
But Opposition education spokesperson Christopher Pyne said Mr Rudd should refer the matter immediately to the auditor general for independent investigation.
"It might well be that Maxine McKew needs to stand aside until the investigation has been completed," he said.
Mr Pyne said the investigation should be added to an inquiry looking into connections between another Labor staffer and media management company CMAX.
CMAX was awarded a $60,000 contract to manage media at the Prime Minister's 2020 ideas summit earlier this year.
At the time, the company was owned by Christian Taubenschlag, now a media adviser to Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.
"I would suggest that Mr Rudd write the Australian National Audit office asking them to add this case that's been uncovered to that investigation," Mr Pyne said.