Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 2427..
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
The Assembly met at 10.30 am.
MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional owners, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
Statement by Speaker
MR SPEAKER: Members, on 25 June 2008, Ms Porter gave written notice of a possible breach of privilege concerning certain actions of Mr Smyth and Mrs Dunne when writing a dissenting report for the Select Committee on Estimates 2008-2009. Ms Porter alleged that, in quoting from the minutes of a private meeting, they had revealed private deliberations of an Assembly committee in contravention of standing order 241 (b).
I present a copy of Ms Porter's letter for the information of members:
Alleged breach of privilege—Letter to the Speaker from Ms Porter, dated 25 June 2008.
Under the provisions of standing order 71, I must determine, as soon as practicable, whether or not the matter merits precedence over other business. If, in my opinion, the matter does merit precedence, I must inform the Assembly of the decision, and the member who raised the matter may move a motion without notice and forthwith to refer the matter to a select committee appointed by the Assembly for that purpose. If, in my opinion, the matter does not merit precedence, I must inform the member in writing and may also inform the Assembly of that decision.
I am not required to judge whether there has been a breach of privilege or a contempt of the Assembly; I can only judge whether the matter merits precedence.
I have examined the matter and note that, had the report of the select committee been tabled, as planned, on the morning of Tuesday, 24 June, along with the minutes of proceedings of the committee, then this matter would not have arisen.
Standing order 279 instructs the Speaker when considering whether matters should merit precedence over other business to adjudge contempts against the Assembly or its committees when matters substantially obstruct the members in the performance of their business. Having considered the matter, I have concluded that the matter does not merit precedence. I have written to Ms Porter today to inform her formally of my decision.