Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2012 ..
MR WOOD (continuing):
(a) one member to be nominated by the Government;
(b) one member to be nominated by the Opposition; and
(c) one member to be nominated by the ACT Greens or the Australian Democrats;
to be notified in writing to the Speaker by 4.00 pm today.
(3) The Committee report by 20 August 2002.
I am not happy to rise and move this motion, which proposes the establishment of a privileges committee to look at the email affair. I wish it had never happened. I wish that we did not have to go down this path. It was open to me, or the opposition or anybody in this Assembly, to move this motion earlier when the knowledge that my emails had been accessed by another person came to light. I could have moved then to establish the committee, but we preferred to let the police investigate and expected some outcome of that.
I have been advised a short time ago that the Director of Public Prosecutions will not be proposing any criminal charges in relation to that email incident. I accept that. It has been explained to me there was no material in the statutes that would allow a criminal charge to be undertaken.
That brings the matter back into this Assembly, because I think it is pretty clear than an offence has been committed-not just to me but to the whole Assembly.
Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. In moving this motion the minister suggested that he feels it is clear that an offence has been committed. He did not say what the offence was against. If he is implying some offence against the law, then clearly that is a quite inappropriate way of using the privilege of this place, given that the person concerned has just had a decision of the DPP in his favour. If he suggests it is an offence against some other provision, such as a provision relating to the privilege of the Assembly, then that is a matter which pre-empts the very matter which he puts before the Assembly today by way of this motion.
If Mr Wood wants to move a motion relating to a committee of privileges, he is welcome to do so. But to comment in such a way as to pre-empt the outcome of that inquiry process is, at the very least, extremely unfair to the staff person concerned and also, I would argue, something of a contempt of the Assembly.
MR SPEAKER: Can I put it this way: members in this place are open to opinions about matters. Nobody has been named, and I would not want to see anybody named either. So I think at this stage I will not rule in your favour, but I will ask Mr Wood to mind his words.
MR WOOD: I was not going to speak for very long. I am aware of what Mr Humphries says, but I have been told from a number of sources that there is no question but that my emails were accessed. Now, I really do not think there is a dispute about that. Now, what this needs to do is to examine whether that accession of those records is an offence to me and an abuse of the privileges of this Assembly. That is what this is about. And I think it is quite fair enough to say that nowhere has anything been said that has denied access to my emails was gained.