Published: 27 September 2016

By Georgie Burgess and Rosemary Bolger ABC   27 Sept 2016

Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding will not face disciplinary action over an argument with an Upper House MP, after the Premier received advice from the Solicitor-General.

Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest told Parliament last week that Mr Hidding had "bullied" and "intimidated" her at a social function during an argument over government legislation.

Mr Hidding later apologised for his conduct, but Ms Forrest has been seeking legal advice.


Ms Forrest said she believed that it was a case of a breach of the Parliamentary code of conduct at the least, and she also told Parliament she wanted to check whether it was a breach of the Criminal Code.

Premier Will Hodgman said he had spoken to Mr Hidding and received advice from his department secretary about the incident.

"On the basis of the advice, I don't believe there has been a breach of the ministerial code of conduct," he said.

"He appreciates, as he has publicly said, he should have tempered his comments, he considers it unacceptable, and he's apologised as a result."

Mr Hodgman did not see a reason to talk to Ms Forrest.

"I have seen what Ms Forrest has said about the incident, and Mr Hidding, who obviously was there as well, has expressed his views," he said.

"What I'm relying on is advice that I've received from the Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet in conjunction with the Solicitor-General."

Labor's Scott Bacon said Mr Hodgman should remove Mr Hidding from cabinet.

"Rene Hidding himself admitted his behaviour was unacceptable, it is a clear breach of the ministerial code of conduct," Mr Bacon said.

"It's not good enough for the Premier to sweep this under the carpet."

Mr Bacon said it was "startling" that Mr Hodgman had not spoken to Ms Forrest.

"How can the Premier make a ruling on the appropriate response to this serious bullying incident without talking to the person who experienced the minister's intimidating behaviour?" he said.

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