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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 10 May 2018) . . Page.. 1775 ..


Administration and procedure has said that it would look at it in the context of the review of standing orders. But I do not know whether that is going to be soon enough. It is quite likely that Senator Gallagher’s position will be filled on a countback by the High Court, but if it is not filled by a countback for some reason then there would be a casual vacancy and the continuing resolution would come into play again. We should not be in a situation where we repeat the mistakes of the past.

This is not a cheap stunt. This is not anything other than this Assembly using this opportunity to learn if it has made a mistake. I think it is pretty clear that we did make a mistake and we should be big enough to admit that and to ensure that we have the procedures in place so we do not make that same mistake again. We should also admit to ourselves and to the community that we made a mistake, and, if necessary, we should apologise to the Governor-General because it is not appropriate that the Governor-General should appoint someone in this way.

It is not appropriate that the Governor-General is put in a situation of making an appointment on our advice—on our advice, not on the Labor Party’s advice or anything. We are elected members and we advised the Governor-General that this was an appropriate person. We got it wrong and in that process we gave wrong advice to the Governor-General. Constitutionally, I think that is a really difficult situation for us to be in.

I raised this issue in November and it was put off. Mr Rattenbury and the Greens at the time thought that it was not necessary to have a privilege inquiry because there were a whole lot of things that were up in the air. They are no longer up in the air. The High Court has made a decision and that decision reflects badly upon us. We should be able to reflect on that and improve our procedures in the future. I congratulate Mr Coe on his motion. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (11.50): There are really two parts to Mr Coe’s motion, in one way, but they are interwoven. One is to establish a privileges committee. The other is to have the administration and procedure committee look at the broader processes. The administration and procedure committee has done that. I am on that committee, so I was involved in that process. The administration and procedure committee was very clear in its findings, and it has been touched on in the debate to some extent already today. I think it is fair to say that the committee did find that the ACT has one of the stronger processes in Australia for considering the matter of whether somebody is eligible. But it also formed the view, and this was a unanimous report, that, as stated in paragraph 2.11, “For the Assembly to have a role in ascertaining whether all of these requirements have been met”—that is, the requirements under section—

Mrs Dunne: Section 44.

MR RATTENBURY: No, it is from the other sections. You have thrown me now, Mrs Dunne. I am thinking about whether it is the constitution or whether it is the Electoral Act. But the committee speaks to the many requirements that are set out relating to undischarged bankruptcy, office for profit under the Crown and various others. It is section 44; you are right. The committee wrote:


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