Australia

Labor queries new job for Christopher Pyne

Christopher Pyne says he intends to abide by the ministerial code in his new role. Source: AAP

Former minister Christopher Pyne's new role as a defence industry adviser has been queried by the federal opposition.

Labor has called on the federal government to ensure officials and ministers do not deal with former minister Christopher Pyne in his new defence industry role.

Mr Pyne, the former defence minister, has a new job with professional services giant EY on defence issues.

The hire comes as EY builds its defence expertise, ahead of the federal government spending $200 billion on its military leading up to 2026.

"Right now the Australian government is engaged in the largest expansion of our military capability in our peacetime history...an ambition to build Australian science, technology, engineering, innovation and industrial capability," EY defence industry leader Mark Stewart said on Wednesday.

"Christopher Pyne is also here to help lead conversations about what all states need to do to meet the challenges and opportunities this defence investment will bring."

Labor frontbencher Stephen Jones said everyone wished Mr Pyne well in his post-politics career, but the new role appeared to be in breach of the statement of ministerial standards.

The standards state: "Ministers are required to undertake that, for an 18 month period after ceasing to be a minister, they will not lobby, advocate or have business meetings with members of the government, parliament, public service or defence force on any matters on which they have had official dealings as minister in their last 18 months in office.

"Ministers are also required to undertake that, on leaving office, they will not take personal advantage of information to which they have had access as a minister, where that information is not generally available to the public."

Mr Jones said Mr Pyne was working in a field "directly related to his ministerial responsibilities".

"Most Australians would say that is not on, that is not right," Mr Jones told Sky News on Thursday.

"There should be a healthy break between your ministerial life and jumping into the private sector and working directly in an area you were once a decision maker on."

Mr Jones said Prime Minister Scott Morrison should make it clear to all ministers and departments not to deal with Mr Pyne while he is in breach of the standards code.

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