Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 5 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 1777 ..
Chief Minister and Mr Rattenbury have said. They are, in effect, putting forward this whole process as being an example of how good the ACT is. Quite frankly, it did not work. It simply did not work. Rather than patting ourselves on the back and saying, "Don't we have a ripper of a system," I think we should be looking at how we actually improve it.
Quite obviously, regardless of what the High Court said yesterday, Ms Gallagher was a citizen of another country. That is why she had to relinquish the position. Regardless of what the High Court said yesterday, the fact that Ms Gallagher had to write to the British government in the lead-up to the 2016 election suggests, firstly, that she knew that she had foreign citizenship. Secondly, she did not contact the Assembly to advise us that the statutory declaration was wrong.
It is all very well for Mr Rattenbury to say that it is not our role to investigate whether somebody is a bankrupt or eligible for foreign citizenship. If that is the case, why do we have the stat dec process? Why does continuing resolution 9 say in 2(b) that we require a statutory declaration? If that is not required by the Electoral Act, surely our role in this is somewhat blurred. Mr Rattenbury said with confidence, "It is not our role." That is what this privileges committee should look into. What is our role?
If we are advising the Governor-General, it is actually our responsibility to ensure that the advice that we are providing is accurate. Therefore I think you could argue that it is our role to investigate whether someone was a bankrupt or whether someone is a foreign citizen. You could argue that case. I suggest that we are already going down that path by demanding a statutory declaration to be presented to the Assembly. We already have accepted some responsibility to ensure that the person we are proposing complies with the Commonwealth Electoral Act and with the constitution.
What this privileges committee would determine is the extent of our responsibilities and what is reasonable for us, as a legislature, to research in order to put forward a recommendation to the Governor-General. It is disappointing that the government is putting party politics ahead of the integrity of this place. I very much hope that this Assembly is not misled again.
That the motion be agreed to.
The Assembly voted—
Ayes 9: Miss C Burch Mr Coe Mrs Dunne Mr Hanson Mrs Kikkert Ms Lee Mr Milligan Mr Parton Mr Wall
Noes 13: Mr Barr Ms Berry Ms J Burch Ms Fitzharris Mr Gentleman Ms Le Couteur Ms Orr Mr Pettersson Mr Ramsay Mr Rattenbury Mr Steel Ms Stephen-Smith
Question resolved in the negative.