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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 6 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1853..

response by the person or corporation who made the submission, in terms specified in the report and agreed to by the person or corporation and the Committee, be published by the Assembly or incorporated in Hansard ...

We do not have a problem with that recommendation, but it is a recommendation to the Assembly that it be published. The committee has said, "Yes, this should be published. We're recommending that to the Assembly."However it would be inappropriate for MLAs just to blindly accept that recommendation without saying, "Let's scrutinise it."I say it would be appropriate to allow MLAs to at least read this report before having it incorporated into Hansard. Even if it is just till a later hour of this day, Madam Speaker, I think that would be prudent rather than simply signing up to anything. We would not do that in the committee and we should not do that here either.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (12.24): Hopefully we can deal with this matter before lunch. In the time this debate has been going I have managed to read this report, as I assume other members have been able to do.

Mr Smyth: So you hadn't read it when you were going to pass it.

MS GALLAGHER: Well, I am a fast reader, but it is only six pages long. It is only six pages long. There are only five paragraphs in the report, one of which is:

The committee recommends that a response by Mr Jorian Gardner, in the terms specified in Appendix A, be incorporated in Hansard.

All parties are represented on this committee through admin and procedure. I presume the committee looked at the submission from Mr Gardner. And I have to say that it is interesting that the most worked up we see the Liberal Party this week is over this matter. They have come in here and used privilege to defame an ordinary citizen. That citizen has sought a right of reply to those defamatory comments, the committee has met, resolved that those comments should be incorporated into Hansard, and who is squirming all over the place—the people who actually defamed him.

There is absolutely no need to delay this. It might make the Liberal Party uncomfortable and it may actually make you think again before you come in here and destroy the reputation of an individual citizen who does not have the same privilege you have by coming into this place. I cannot recall an individual being attacked by as many MLAs as I witnessed in that debate. Liberal MLA after Liberal MLA walked in here and defamed an ordinary citizen, and now you are all squirming because he gets the right to reply and have that incorporated into Hansard. You did not seem as concerned when all your defamatory comments were put into Hansard without any right of review before the transcript came out. This is a straightforward matter, and this committee report should be dealt with.

Motion (by Mr Wall) negatived:

That the debate be adjourned.

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