Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1242 ..
Ms Carnell: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. A personal explanation under standing order 46 simply cannot have a preamble.
Mr Humphries: That is right. It has to be succinct and to the point.
Ms Carnell: It must be kept to the point of what the personal explanation is.
MR SPEAKER: Indeed. You may explain matters of a personal nature but such matters may not be debated. Thank you, Mr Hargreaves.
MR HARGREAVES: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and thank you very much, Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister. Mr Speaker, the facts are that I responded to a question and a query from the president of the Tuggeranong Community Council concerning an imminent article in the Valley View regarding prisons. As I have indicated in my letter of regret to the chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety, a copy of which I trust and I am sure was forwarded to the eminent chief law officer of this Territory, I did indicate to the reporter that in my opinion the prison would not be located in Tuggeranong. Whilst this remark was made in semi-jest, it nonetheless is indicative of my position as a member for Brindabella, a member of this Assembly charged with providing good government for the people of the ACT, and my position as a member of the standing committee charged with the responsibility of responsible consideration of all implications of justice.
It must be noted here and underscored that the matter of the siting of the prison had not at the time of my alleged transgression been referred to the committee. Indeed, it has not yet been so referred. Mr Speaker, I make no apologies for flagging with anyone my intention to represent Brindabella. I reject any accusation that I have transgressed a confidentiality which has been provided to the committee, or any committee on which I did not sit. The matter of siting was considered, I believe, by the Legal Affairs Standing Committee, and I was not an elected member during that time. I have not been privy to deliberations by or of that committee, and in my time on the Standing Committee for Justice and Community Safety the possible sites have not been discussed. To check my memory, I sought the advice from committee secretaries on whether my recollections were correct. They concurred with my recollections.
I have been accused of releasing material which was made available to the committee in private. I received no such information as a member of the committee. It is my recollection that I received information on siting from the reporter. The statutory declaration waved about by the Deputy Chief Minister refers to the reporter's recollection. Indeed, the reporter said in his letter that he suspects that I gave him information on the siting. So much for the statutory declaration! I am being accused of something based on recollections - sound legal practice from the ACT's first law officer! Well done, first law officer, and well done again. Mr Speaker, any transgression by a member of a committee ought to be dealt with in committee.
Ms Carnell: No, it should be dealt with here.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Proceed, Mr Hargreaves.