Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2059 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
cases like this, where matters are referred initially to the police and then to the DPP for investigation.
I think the normal process here should have been, as my two colleagues-Mr Smyth and Mr Humphries-said, to go to a privileges committee to start with. If anything came out of that, the next step would be a referral to the police and the DPP. That has not happened. It jumped to the second stage.
Let me say, Mr Speaker, that, from my experience with both the police and the DPP, anything like this is most thoroughly investigated-firstly by the police. Secondly, it is most thoroughly looked at by the DPP. Absolutely. I certainly hope that those opposite have faith in both the DPP and the police. If they do not, let me assure the house that my experience with things like this is that they are thoroughly investigated.
If you want any sort of proof, look at the time this matter has taken. It is a considerable amount of time. It is something that has been in the media, and it has been made out to be something like a witch-hunt too. It has been up there in the media-all the more reason, too-for thorough investigation by those two bodies. They have done that, and the relevant body-the independent Director of Public Prosecutions-has come to a conclusion which should be respected. And that should be the end of the matter.
Obviously this will be going to a committee. The only sense I have heard from people other than those from my own party today on that has come from Ms Dundas. She seemed to raise some sensible points. Let me say that this really should not be necessary. This should be the end of the matter-the fact that it has been investigated most thoroughly. The DPP has indicated a conclusion in relation to that. No charges have been, or will be, laid, and that should be the end of it.
MS TUCKER (5.15): The Greens will support the establishment of this committee. The arguments put by the opposition seem to be based mainly on the findings of the DPP. The DPP says that he has determined that no criminal offence is disclosed by the evidence. That is obviously not dealing with the question of misconduct.
He then goes on to say that whether disciplinary or other action is warranted is a matter for the relevant members of the Legislative Assembly to consider. That is what we are doing now. The majority of the people evidently consider that there needs to be a further process to establish whether unauthorised receipt of emails from Mr Wood's office was a breach of privilege, and whether a contempt was committed.
Mr Smyth said that this is politics, and that we have no faith in the DPP. This is not about reflecting on the DPP. As I have just pointed out, the DPP has been charged with looking at the question of criminal offences. The DPP has said it is up to us to decide further action. There is obviously an issue of misconduct here which needs to be looked at-and this is not just politics.
Mr Smyth said, "This is politics." This is the Commonwealth Parliamentary Privileges Act. That is what I am referring to in making this decision. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Privileges Act is linked to us-the ACT Legislative Assembly-by the self-government act.