Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1491 ..
members on the committee at the time that is relevant to this investigation and that should also be considered in making a decision.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you, members. Mr Corbell, I read standing order 156 as you do—that it shall be decided by the Assembly. I do not believe it is in the Speaker’s power to make this decision. I believe it sits with the Assembly and so I believe, Mrs Dunne, that you would need to move a motion seeking that certain members be precluded from the debate. That is my understanding of standing order 156.
Mr Seselja: Just before we move on to that, Mr Speaker, could you just advise what advice you have received from the Clerk? As I said, the last time this was handled there was advice from the Clerk and, on the basis of that, the Assembly voted. So I would be interested to know what advice you have received on this matter, not just on your ability to make a ruling but on the standing order itself.
MR SPEAKER: I am sorry for the delay. There is some discussion about the precedents in this place because it appears, from looking at the minutes of proceedings, that in the case Mrs Dunne refers to from August 2008 the Assistant Speaker ruled in that case that members not participate in debate. That is not my understanding of the standing order. I do not believe that that is a correct precedent to apply in this case because the standing order does not give the power to the Speaker.
With regard to your question, Mr Seselja, I believe the reason the Assistant Speaker took that action at that time was because there were known contracts that were relevant; that is the basis on which I understand the Speaker took the decision on that occasion. I do not wish to comment on the merits or otherwise of that.
In this case, it is my understanding that Mr Barr has a contract with a staff member who is on the administrative committee. He has indicated that to the Assembly. He has also indicated that that member was not on the administrative committee at the time of the report, and I believe that is material in this case. So I do not believe that that, in my opinion, presents a direct conflict of interest for Mr Barr in these circumstances. That comment made, which is what you asked me to make, Mr Seselja, it remains open to the Assembly to move a motion seeking to exclude Mr Barr from debate if the Assembly believes that there is a conflict of interest.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.42), by leave: I move:
That Ms Gallagher (Treasurer) and Mr Barr (Minister for Gaming and Racing) be excluded from this debate, in accordance with standing order 156, on the basis that they have staff who are members of the executive committee of the ALP in the ACT, which is subject to the inquiry and the motion being dealt with today.
Mr Speaker, most of the issues have already been canvassed in points of order, but it is clear that there is a substantial conflict of interest that relates directly to the contracts that Ms Gallagher and Mr Barr have with members of their staff on this matter.
The inquiry by the Gambling and Racing Commission into the possible breaches of the Gaming Machine Act in relation to the Labor Club has clear implications for the