Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3968..
MR DEPUTY (continuing):
do so. Obviously, he does not wish to do so; he wishes to use it as a debating point, as others may do if they so wish.
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Deputy Speaker, speaking to the point of order, the reasons will become clear later in the song. As I said, such a privileges committee would need to look at how Mrs Dunne can attest that Mr Burke had tendered evidence without revealing what Mr Burke had submitted. My concern is exacerbated by the feeling that Mrs Dunne may have, either deliberately or inadvertently and therefore negligently, effected a right of reply already.
The committee concluded on the basis of the specific request that the right of reply should not proceed. A member of that committee, in the text of the dissenting report, has, in effect, negated the process, compromised the process, and held the committee's majority recommendations in contempt.
In relation to the amendment, nothing new has been advanced. As Ms Tucker indicated, the same members of the administration and procedure committee would reconsider the matter. I cannot agree to this amendment. Mrs Dunne's comments regarding a statement of interest from her, me and the Speaker were unnecessarily insulting and, again, cast aspersions on the integrity of members-a criticism through innuendo, with no evidence to support such an implied conclusion.
Mr Speaker, we have only three more sitting days left. That would leave little time for the convening of a privileges committee, almost no time to investigate the issue and virtually no opportunity for such a committee to report to the Assembly to take action as it saw fit. In other words, there is not enough time left in the life of this Assembly for the creation of such a committee to be considered by the Assembly and to afford Mrs Dunne natural justice through careful consideration.
Mrs Dunne: You just accused me of breaching privilege.
MR HARGREAVES: Mrs Dunne can bleat as much as she likes. I believe that there is prima facie evidence of a breach of standing orders and contempt of the Assembly. (Extension of time granted.) Had I not been interrupted by a frivolous point of order, I might have been able to conclude on time.
I reiterate that I believe that there is prima facie evidence to consider the creation of such a committee. Were this the second year of a four-year term or a three-year term, I would have approached the proper authority for such consideration, but we do not have enough time in the life of this parliament to consider it. That is the only reason I do not do so. I concur with the comments made by Ms Tucker and I recommend that the amendment be rejected and that the committee's recommendations be agreed to.
MR STEFANIAK (5.37): Mr Speaker, I support Mrs Dunne's amendment, which refers to paragraph (3) of the citizen's right of reply resolution. It would merely mean that if the committee were to decide to consider a submission under this resolution it may confer with a person or corporation who made the submission and any member who referred in the Assembly to that person or corporation. I think that that is eminently reasonable in this instance.