Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2051 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Mr Speaker, presumably it was open to you, at the time of that occurring, to arrange for the matter to be referred to an Assembly committee, to be dealt with as a breach of privilege. You chose not to do so. You chose to treat this matter in a particular way-that is fair enough.
The matter has now been dealt with in that way and I think that, having dealt with it in that way, it is extremely unfair to the staff member concerned to then be told that this matter is not concluded-that a further round of investigation will occur in a different forum, under different rules, to see whether the conduct of that person can be aspersed as breaching a particular set of rules, in this case the rules of privilege relating to this house. That is unfair and unreasonable. It amounts to a concept of the same kind as double jeopardy. I would hope members of this place will not engage lightly in that kind of behaviour.
Having said that, the opposition will nominate a member to serve on the committee, but believes that this matter should not take longer to resolve than is absolutely necessary. I have circulated two amendments to Mr Wood's motion. I seek leave to move those two amendments together.
MR HUMPHRIES: I thank members. I move:
Paragraph (2) omit "by 4.00 pm today" substitute "by 15 minutes after the motion is agreed to by the Assembly".
(4) Should the Committee complete its deliberations before 20 August 2002, the Committee may send its report to the Speaker, or in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker who is authorised to give directions for its printing, circulation and publication.
The first amendment provides for a different time for members to notify of their intention to serve on the committee. The second amendment allows the committee to report earlier than 20 August, if it sees fit. I acknowledge, Mr Speaker, that there may be reasons why it may not be possible for that to take place. It may be that the committee will feel it needs to report under the umbrella of the privilege available to the Assembly, not outside the Assembly. I feel fairly confident that, with reasonable alacrity on the committee's part, the report would be available in a short period of time. So it should be possible to report in that short period of time.
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (4.49): Mr Speaker, this is a very serious matter. It is very important that the Assembly has an opportunity to undertake an investigation into this matter. Many of us do not have a clear idea of what has transpired. I know from my colleague, Mr Wood, that emails addressed to him were, in some way downloaded by another person. I do not know how that happened. I do not know who that person was.