Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 5 August 2021) . . Page.. 2393 ..
MADAM SPEAKER: I ask that that is circulated to members as well.
MR HANSON: If members refer to the standing orders, there is a process whereby, if the Assembly supports a motion that a document be tabled, that that be tabled. Should the Chief Minister believe that there is privilege attached to that document, it is cabinet-in-confidence and so on, he can make that case. There is a process that then unfolds where that can be contested and an independent legal hub appointed by the Clerk to make that assessment. So there is a process that follows.
The reason that I am asking for this document to be tabled is that this is a very important issue for our community. The government touts it as the most significant infrastructure project in the history of the ACT. It will be many billions of dollars to do this and, as the government has outlined already, there are going to be some significant disruptions caused by this project in terms of closed car parks and then a significantly constrained route.
Mr Gentleman: On a point of order, Madam Speaker, could I seek your guidance: if Mr Hanson’s motion is in accordance with the standing orders, particularly listing the time for production, standing order 213A(f) provides 14 days to claim privilege.
MADAM SPEAKER: Yes, but he has moved the motion. It depends on the Assembly’s response to the motion, what actions then follow.
MR HANSON: Yes; that is correct, Madam Speaker. My understanding is that if my motion is supported, then Mr Steel could put that document forward. But if the Chief Minister believes that there is privilege attached, he would then make that case and then there is a process that unfolds.
The first decision is for the Assembly to either support the motion or not. If it does, then that process follows where the Chief Minister will say if it is privileged or not—it is up to him—and if a member were to dispute that, then at that point there is an arbiter appointed. The question is whether we should see the document first, I suppose is the point, and then we would look at whether there is privilege.
I have set the end of business today but I just want the documents. If you are saying, “We will give you the document if you give us a specific period,” I would be very happy for that to be delayed. By the end of business today is less important to me.
The reason that we want it is that this is an issue of great significance, and you have told us that. We all understand that. This is not just short term; this is going to go on for many, many years.
When we asked for it in question time today, Mr Steel tabled what he said was the summary which, from what I could see, was a single piece of A4 paper, half of which was a picture. If we are talking about detailed transport studies, I think it is reasonable, if the opposition is going to be able to do its job and the people in the community who have great interest are able to look at this, that they can do so with all the information in front of them.