Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 3 Hansard (21 March) . .
Wednesday, 21 March 2018
MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
Matter of privilege
Statement by Speaker
MADAM SPEAKER: Members, before I call on the first motion today, on 20 March Mr Wall gave written notice of a possible breach of privilege concerning certain aspects of the conduct of a witness before the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Tourism in its inquiry into the annual and financial reports 2016-17. Mr Wall sought my advice as to whether threats made constitute a contempt. I present a copy of Mr Wall's letter for the information of members.
Privilege—Alleged breach—Copy of letter from Mr Wall to the Speaker, dated 20 March 2018.
Under the provisions of standing order 276, I must determine as soon as practicable whether or not the matter merits precedence over other business. If, in my opinion, the matter does not merit precedence, I must inform the Assembly of the decision and the member who raised the matter may move a motion without notice forthwith and refer the matter to a select committee. If, in my opinion, the matter does not merit precedence, I must inform the member in writing and also inform the Assembly of that decision.
I am required not to judge whether there has been a breach of privilege or contempt, only to judge whether the matter merits precedence. When the matter was originally brought to my attention, I contacted the Chair of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Tourism and sought advice as to whether the matters had been raised or discussed within the committee and, if so, whether there was an agreed position on the matter.
The chair subsequently advised that the committee had met and discussed the matter and agreed to include all the relevant correspondence and the Hansard extracts in report No 2 of the annual and financial reports 2016-17. The chair further advised that the committee did not believe that any further action was desirable. The report of the committee was tabled yesterday in the Assembly, and the Assembly agreed to a motion that it take note of the paper.
Having considered the matter, I have concluded that the matter does not merit precedence over any other business. I want to make a note of apology to Mr Wall. I understand that you were informed of that, but the formal response in writing is coming to your office. But, given the timing this morning, I do apologise for that delay.