Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1522..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
privately to other members in this place-it is a question of context. Having expressed four or five apologies at this stage, it would have been foolish of me to claim to be without fault in this matter in the Canberra Times on the day that the matter was to be debated.
What I was speaking about in this context was what I could perhaps best describe as the alleged attempt by the Labor Party to remove me as chair of the Planning and Environment Committee. What I meant was that I had not done anything wrong in the sense of anything intended to subvert the committee process. Whether or not this admitted error results in my removal as chair, my conscience is clear. It was the result of a mistake, an error of judgment for which I have apologised, not any act of malice or bad faith.
This brings me to the question of intent, and I thank Ms Tucker for some of the counsel that she has provided in this matter. Clearly, intent is required to establish a contempt. One of the arguments that I made before the Privileges Committee was that I did not have any intention of subverting the process. I would contend that a committee cannot have direct access to a member's mental processes. I have discussed this matter with Ms Tucker, who tells me that intent, in this context, refers to the intent to commit the specific act, namely the release of the pamphlet, and not to any intention on my part to commit a contempt.
I accept unreservedly the findings of the committee regarding intent because I clearly did not issue the brochure by accident. I also thank Ms Tucker for her words about what I would call neophyte chairs. Much has been said in this place about how experienced I was as a staffer and how senior I was. It would be very instructive for some of the members opposite to see my payslips from the time, to see how senior I was. I never attracted the title "senior adviser". I was an adviser in this place for some time but I was not a member of this place and I was not a chair.
Ms Tucker made some very important points this morning when she said, "You might have a lot of experience in this place, but until you actually sit down and do the job of a chair, you do not have very much experience of that and it is sometimes a difficult job."As I said in this place this morning and on other occasions, I did seek advice about what should go in that pamphlet, but I did not seek the advice of the secretary of the Planning and Environment Committee. On reflection, I have realised that this was a mistake because I suspect that she would have advised me that it was the wrong thing to do and we would not have been here today.
I apologise to the members in this place for all that has happened in this matter.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.
Discussion of matter of public importance
MR SPEAKER: I have received letters from Ms Dundas, Ms MacDonald and Mr Pratt proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Ms Dundas be submitted to the Assembly, namely: