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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 4 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 1489..


Mr Corbell (continuing):

Ms Gallagher are just that—they are staff, not the member exercising the vote—I do not see how you can rule that members of the government should be excluded from this debate.

Mr Smyth: On the point of order, Mr Speaker, standing order 156 actually says:

A Member who is a party to, or has a direct or indirect interest in, a contract made by or on behalf of the Territory or a Territory authority shall not take part in a discussion of a matter, or vote on a question, in a meeting of the Assembly where the matter or question relates directly or indirectly to that contract.

In the case of Mr Seselja, he was excluded on the basis of the possibility of an amendment being moved that would affect one of his staff members, in exactly the same arrangement. The argument was that he had a contract with that staff member and he was going to vote in a discussion about it.

Mr Corbell: Yes, because he was related to that staff member.

Mr Smyth: No. It was about the contract. You need to do your research better, Simon. Standing order 156 relates to the member and the contract. Mr Seselja was excluded on the basis that he had a contract with that staff member. There are at least two members of the government that have contracts with staff members who are affected by this report. Indeed, one of them sits in the office of the minister who is handling the report. And that is the dilemma. Let me go through it again: Mr Seselja was excluded on the possibility that an amendment would be moved that would affect his staff member. What we actually have are two staff members who are in contract, who are part of an organisation that is the subject of this report; they are on the administrative committee of the organisation. That is entirely consistent with the situation that the Leader of the Opposition was put in, and it is an appalling act of hypocrisy to say, "It does not apply to us, because we just simply do not accept it."The same logic that was applied to the Leader of the Opposition should be applied to the members of the Labor Party in this case.

Mr Barr: I think there are two points to make in relation to this. The first is that no member of my staff sits on the board of the Canberra Labor club; that is a very important point. Nor is the ACT branch secretary a member of my staff. That there are members of my staff who are members of the Australian Labor Party is probably not a surprise to anyone, and that declaration I am very happy to make at the beginning of the debate.

This is nothing but muckraking from the Canberra Liberals, and we have seen it all and heard it all before. There is nothing new in what we are seeing today. In fact, it really goes to the heart of Mr Smyth's political motivations. What he is attempting to do now through this particular point of order, and then what he is attempting to do with this motion, is highly political, and I think the Assembly should take note of the heavy politicisation of this matter by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Barr, the specific suggestion is that, I think in question time yesterday, you indicated that a member of your staff is on the administrative committee of the Labor Party. Is that correct?


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