Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 3 Hansard (22 March) . .
Thursday, 22 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.
Privileges 2018—Select Committee
MR WALL (Brindabella) (10.01), by leave: I move:
(1) pursuant to standing order 277, a Select Committee on Privileges be established to examine whether there was improper influence of a member, in relation to threats made by the Chief Minister, Mr Barr MLA, during a public hearing of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Tourism on 6 November 2017 and any other relevant matters;
(2) the Committee shall report back to the Assembly by the last sitting week in June 2018; and
(3) the Committee shall be composed of:
(a) one member nominated by the Government; and
(b) one member nominated by the Crossbench; and
(c) one member nominated by the Opposition;
to be notified to the Speaker by 4pm today.
Madam Speaker, this motion is not brought forward lightly. As you are aware and as members are aware, I wrote to you earlier in the week asking whether or not this matter deserved precedence over other business in the Assembly, given the serious nature of the behaviour exhibited by a member. Your decision at that time was that it did not warrant precedence, but you reminded the Assembly that that decision did not in fact make any ruling over whether the matter at hand did or did not constitute a contempt of the Assembly. The matter is still a matter that needs to be looked at seriously. My interpretation, the interpretation of the opposition, is that a clear-cut breach of what the standing orders outline may constitute a contempt of this parliament.
Madam Speaker, the behaviour exhibited by the Chief Minister, primarily during the annual reports hearings of the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Tourism, can only be described as completely unacceptable. The level of bullying and intimidation that was displayed in any other workplace in our city would cause serious reprimand, if not termination of employment. It is a very serious matter to make threats to colleagues or co-workers, and it is a gross overreach of the Chief Minister's position to threaten a member of a committee, more so when he is the chair of a committee, essentially the equivalent to you as Speaker in the committee process, for simply seeking to do their job.