Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 31 July 2018) . . Page.. 2360 ..
format which could be forwarded to the public accounts committee and a survey of responders indicated that a significantly large majority were fully aware that the site was not an Assembly site. Therefore the committee found that no contempt had been committed by Mr Coe.
The last issue canvassed by the committee was the guidelines for the use of third-party websites. One of the issues here is that we are seeing a number of different places seeking to generate submissions through their own portal in some form or another, of which this was one example. This leads to the one recommendation that the committee has made in our report, which states:
That the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure, in consultation with the Committee of Chairs, develop guidelines for the use of third party websites in the preparation of submissions to Assembly inquiries.
… the guidelines should cover privilege aspects, should ensure that all submissions are forwarded automatically and without intervention, and be placed in a conspicuous place on the Assembly website.
Those are the key outcomes of the privileges committee process.
MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (10.41): As deputy chair of the committee, I rise today to welcome the tabling of the report and to commend it to the Assembly. As you know, Madam Speaker, privileges committees are very serious. I want to extend my thanks to the opposition members who were the subject of this inquiry for their willingness to respond and speak candidly about what occurred, to assist the committee and to make our job relatively easy.
I, too, note that the committee made no findings against any of the opposition members, but I do want to draw to the attention of members and underline a few points that Mr Rattenbury has touched on.
The process has raised the fraught position we find ourselves in with third-party websites. I think I speak for all of us in this place when I say that we do want to expand knowledge of and the community’s access to committees and their inquiries. The use of third-party websites is one way that this can be achieved. However, there are causes for concern that were illuminated through this inquiry. The issues in particular are drawn out in paragraphs 4.15, 4.23, 4.24, 4.28 and 4.29 of the report. I will not read them out.
On the evidence we heard, which is reflected in the report, I believe that there were elements of recklessness in the Canberra Liberals’ operation of their third-party website. This is something that we should take into consideration. My hope is that the administration and procedure committee will seriously take into account the following issues when looking at the possibility of guidelines to support the use of third-party websites: that third-party websites are not infallible, particularly where spam filters are employed; that appropriate reconciliation should be employed; that members of this place might want to consider carefully promoting third-party websites if they do not know or are not confident in how they work; and that persons engaging with third-party websites to make a submission should be made aware that committees do