19/11/2008 - 15:02

Norman Moore's wife sells mining stock

19/11/2008 - 15:02

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Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore today announced his wife, Lee had sold her shares in BHP Billiton, Wesfarmers and Woodside Petroleum but he insisted he had done nothing wrong over perceived conflicts of interest.

Norman Moore's wife sells mining stock

Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore today announced his wife, Lee had sold her shares in BHP Billiton, Wesfarmers and Woodside Petroleum but he insisted he had done nothing wrong over perceived conflicts of interest.

Mr Moore said his wife stood to lose $100,000 from her superannuation fund in the sale, which Mr Moore blamed on constant media speculation about himself and his family.

"She is not prepared to sit back and see us and our government attacked, unfairly in her view, on a daily basis," Mr Moore said.

Mr Moore originally sought advice from the director general of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet because he and his wife were trustees of a superannuation fund which, with the exception of $4,000 Mr Moore had contributed to pay for a life assurance policy, consisted entirely of his wife's superannuation funds.

Included in this superannuation fund were shares in BHP Billiton, Wesfarmers and Woodside Petroleum.

The director general referred the matter to the state solicitor.

"My wife retired last year and transferred her superannuation entitlement into a self managed fund," he said.

"I became a trustee and member basically to avoid the necessity for us to start a new fund when I retire, and so that I could use the fund to pay the life assurance premiums I mentioned earlier.

"The advice I received was that I should withdraw as a trustee and member of the fund, and that I should declare an interest in Cabinet if any decisions were required in respect to any companies in which my wife held shares."

Last week Mr Moore made it very clear that he was not going to tell his wife to do anything, and that included selling any of her shares.

Mr Moore felt that his wife, as a private citizen, had been unfairly penalised and consequently lost a substantial part of her superannuation simply due to her marriage to a Minister.

Mr Moore said he sought advice as to whether or not this aforementioned arrangement breached the ministerial code of conduct, a claim the Opposition has been hammering the last few weeks  

"The advice did not require me to divest myself of any shares because I didn't have any shares," Mr Moore said.

"The shares in the fund belong to my wife and the code of conduct does not require spouses to divest their own shares.

"Mr Ripper's assertion that I transferred shares to my wife is simply wrong.

"I did not have any shares to transfer.

"This very simple situation seems to have been too difficult for some people, including Mr Ripper to comprehend.

"And it was Mr Ripper's government which drafted the code of conduct which does not require spouses to divest of their own assets."

Mr Moore did say he was very grateful to his wife but emphasised he had adhered strictly to the code.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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