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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 155 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

visitors shall always be excluded when the committee is deliberating. Mr Speaker, I will read all of standing order 236, just so that people do not suggest that I am taking it out of context, because that could be the case:

When a committee is examining witnesses, visitors may be admitted, but shall be excluded at the request of any member, or at the discretion of the Presiding Member of the committee, and shall always be excluded when the committee is deliberating.

Mr Speaker, that issue was not addressed. I think it does need to be addressed. Even a comment to reinforce that that is what the standing order is would be enough.

Mr Speaker, on the other issue, I thought, "Well, that is the way it goes. I have misunderstood". But Mr Wood stood up to speak today and effectively suggested - perhaps I am misinterpreting this, and I would be happy to be corrected - that he was within his rights to authorise the publication of that report because it had been adopted on the Friday. But it did not include Mr Hird's dissenting report and at that stage a member of the committee did not have a copy of the report.

Mr Speaker, I do not think we should go any further. You have said that this matter does not merit precedence. I am not arguing that it should merit precedence, but I am arguing that there are still a couple of questions outstanding. Mr Wood has raised a new one, which is: What is the role of a Speaker in authorising publication of material out of session? Without that clarification, Mr Speaker, I think this Assembly should be very reluctant to authorise the publication of any material out of session. The second one is, I think, Mr Speaker, that you should at the very least reinforce standing order 236 so that visitors shall always be excluded when the committee is deliberating. That is how it should be.

MR QUINLAN: I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave granted.

MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, I do not really intend to revisit a number of the incidents along the way in relation to this report and its preparation. However, I must say that this particular exercise we are now involved in and Mr Moore's last speech, replete with mock indignation, are turning this place into high farce. I think most of us still remember the images of Mr Hird disappearing down a hallway at the appointed time for the first-ever meeting of this committee. On the Friday in question, Mr Hird had to attend a funeral. Mr Hird committed himself to return so that we could complete this report within the appointed time and meet the requirement of this house.

I have to say that I would not have been perturbed, Mr Speaker, had there been convened a select privileges committee on this matter, because that may have unearthed all of the incidents associated with this particular report and the participation of all of the members of the committee. Nevertheless, I am happy to accept your ruling, and I congratulate you

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