Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1512 ..
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Gentleman. Members, let me seek some advice. Members, I think you will all appreciate that it will be to the benefit of everyone if we suspend for 10 minutes, to give members a chance to read the statement, circulate it and, from there, we can further decide on the matter.
At 5.23 pm, the sitting was suspended until the ringing of the bells.
The bells having been rung, Mr Assistant Speaker (Mr Pettersson) resumed the chair at 5.33 pm.
Commissioner for Standards—referral
MS BURCH (Brindabella) (5.33), by leave: I move:
(1) this Assembly notes the statement made by Mr Milligan relating to his correspondence to constituents, and that he has referred himself to the Commissioner for Standards; and
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of continuing resolution 5AA, and noting that the actions of Mr Milligan occurred at a time when Mr Milligan was not an MLA but that he has subsequently been re-elected to the Assembly, to ensure that the Commissioner has coverage of this matter, this Assembly refers the actions of Mr Milligan in writing to constituents and seeking their support in his private business to the Assembly’s Commission for Standards to ascertain whether the actions of Mr Milligan breached the code of conduct of Members.
The point I have been trying to make to various people throughout the discussion of this matter is that the motion seeks to ensure that the commission has coverage of this matter, so that an independent body can look at it, and so that it is not played out on the floor of this chamber. The motion asks the Assembly to refer the actions of Mr Milligan, in writing to constituents and seeking support for his private business, to the Assembly’s Commissioner for Standards to ascertain whether the actions of Mr Milligan breached the code of conduct of members.
By way of clarification, statements were made questioning whether I was moving this as the Speaker or as Ms Burch, a member of the Labor caucus room. I have also been very clear in conversations that I have moved this as Speaker, to keep it out of party politics, because I uphold the integrity of this place to high standards. If there is a question around the code of conduct and a sitting member, I feel obligated to refer it to an independent arbiter, and that is the Commissioner for Standards. Once the question was raised, as to whether I could refer it or a member of the public could refer it—or, indeed, as Mr Milligan has referred it; that was within his scope—I did not want to leave that question unanswered; hence, the reason for this motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.