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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (16 August) . . Page.. 2210..


Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: On 14 August 2006 Mr Smyth and Mr Pratt gave written notice of a possible breach of privilege concerning certain aspects of the conduct of Ms MacDonald, Ms Porter and Mr Gentleman concerning the absence of Ms MacDonald at a scheduled meeting of the estimates committee. In particular, the members alleged that several members of the committee misled the committee by claiming that Ms MacDonald's absence from the final meeting on Friday, 11 August was due to the fact that she was attending Assembly CPA business when in fact she had flown to Brisbane and the Assembly business did not commence until Monday, 14 August 2006.

Mr Smyth and Mr Pratt assert that either Ms MacDonald misled her party colleagues or that her two party colleagues misled the committee, or that all three Labor Party members misled the committee. For the information of members I will present a copy of Mr Smyth's and Mr Pratt's letter.

Under the provision of standing order 71 I must determine as soon as practicable whether or not the matter merits precedence over other business. If in my opinion the matter merits precedence, I must inform the Assembly of the decision and the members who raised the matter may move a motion, without notice and forthwith, to refer the matter to a select committee appointed by the Assembly for that purpose. If in my opinion the matter does not merit precedence I must inform the members in writing and may also inform the Assembly of the decision.

I am not required to judge whether there has been a breach of privilege or a contempt of the Assembly; I can only judge whether the matter merits precedence. Although I view the deliberate misleading of a committee extremely seriously, the evidence that has been provided to me does not allow me to conclude whether or not the committee has been misled. I consider that there has not been substantial interference with the work of the committee and therefore have concluded that the matter does not merit precedence over other business.

I present the following paper:

Alleged breach of privilege-letter from Mr Pratt and Mr Smyth to the Speaker, dated 14 August 2006.

Legal Affairs-Standing Committee

Scrutiny report 28

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra-Leader of the Opposition): I present the following report:

Legal Affairs-Standing Committee (performing the duties of a Scrutiny of Bills and Subordinate Legislation Committee)-Scrutiny Report 28, dated 7 August 2006, together with the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I seek leave to make a brief statement.

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