LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 860/95-96
Ref: CB(3)/C/2

Committee on Members' Interests

Minutes of the meeting held on Friday, 24 May 1996
at 9:00 a.m. in Conference Room A, Legislative Council Building

Members Present:

    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing

Members Absent:

    Hon LIU Sing-lee
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hong Mrs Elizabeth WONG CHIEN Chi-lien, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon YUM Sin-ling

Staff in Attendance:

    Mr LEE Yu-sung, Acting SALA
    Mr Ray CHAN, ASG3
    Mr LAW Wing-lok, CAS(3)1
    Ms Miranda HON, SAS(3)1

I. Confirmation of the minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the last meeting held on 6 February 1996 were confirmed without amendment.

II. Report by the Chairman on the outcome of the motion regarding the introduction of a formal mechanism to monitor LegCo Members' conduct.

2. The Chairman reported that the motion regarding the introduction of a formal mechanism to monitor the conduct of LegCo Members was negatived at the Council sitting held on 3 April 1996, with 11 votes in favour of the motion and 36 votes against it. The reasons for opposing the motion as expressed by Members at the sitting were broadly of the following:

  1. it was difficult to define what "proper conduct" meant;
  2. the proposed mechanism might be abused;
  3. LegCo Members' conduct was already under public scrutiny and they would be subject to public censure if they misconducted themselves; and
  4. the existing arrangement whereby the Council could by resolution appoint a select committee to consider complaints about LegCo Members' misconduct under SO 61 was already adequate.

III. The way forward

3. The Chairman said that although the motion to introduce a formal mechanism was not passed by the full Council, the Committee might still consider whether advisory guidelines on the conduct of LegCo Members should be issued for Members' reference under SO 60B(1)(d), and if so, whether they had any comments on the set of guidelines drawn up in the last session.

4. In response to Mr Michael HO's enquiry, the Acting Senior Assistant Legal Adviser said that in case of a Member breaching the guidelines, the Committee would not be in a position to recommend any sanction to be imposed on the Member concerned since the guidelines were advisory in nature. The Chairman added that a Member could be sanctioned for misconduct only upon a motion to that effect being passed by the Council.

5. The meeting agreed that the Committee should issue the guidelines drawn up by the Committee in the last session for Members' reference. The meeting further agreed that the word "advisory" should be added to the heading of the guidelines to make it clear that the guidelines were intended for Members' reference only. The Chairman remarked that Mr LIU Sing-lee, Mrs Elizabeth WONG and Mr YUM Sin-ling, who were not present at the meeting, had already indicated support for the Committee issuing advisory guidelines at the last meeting.

6. The Chairman said that the advisory guidelines would be issued to all Members after some of the terms in the Chinese version of the guidelines had been up-dated. Copies of the advisory guidelines should also be kept in the Council Library for ready reference by Members.


IV. Any other business

7. Miss Emily LAU said that during the Commonwealth Parliamentary Seminar held last week, she had briefly discussed with some delegates about the enforcement of codes of conduct in their legislatures and was informed that in Saskatchewan of Canada, there was a strict system of declaration of assets and income by Members of the Legislature and their family members. In the House of Commons in the United Kingdom, the Committee on Standards and Priviledges was finalising a report on members' conduct. She had requested the Saskatchewan delegate and the Clerk of Committees of the House of Commons to send relevant information to the LegCo Secretariat. The Chairman said the Committee would discuss the information when it came to hand.

8. The meeting ended at 9:20 a.m.

LegCo Secretariat
6 June 1996

Last Updated on 28 Aug, 1996