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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3697 ..

Suspension of standing and temporary orders

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (11.03): Mrs Cross has raised a number of allegations, including allegations touching on the Privileges Committee. I think it is appropriate for the Assembly to move to have that debate now. I move:

That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent order of the day No 7, Assembly business, relating to the report of the Select Committee on Privileges, being called on forthwith.

Question resolved in the affirmative, with the concurrence of an absolute majority.

Privileges-Select Committee


Debate resumed from 14 November 2002, on motion by Ms Tucker:

That the report be noted.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition): I do not have the call, Mr Speaker, but, if who has the call does not mind, I will take the call anyway. I seek leave to speak again.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: It is appropriate to be debating this matter today, because in presenting its report last week the Select Committee on Privileges made a number of quite serious findings, including a serious finding about a member of the opposition staff. In turn that led to comments and allegations in the media-some of which went beyond what was in the committee report, some of which were even rejected by the committee report-which I think need to be dealt with today. I think this debate needs to be conducted because of the implications it has for members of this place and for staff members of this place.

Ms Tucker, Mr Hargreaves and Mr Smyth have produced a report on a matter which obviously produced a great deal of passion in the course of the committee's public hearings and which led to a much reported set of findings and a very serious finding against a member of staff of this place. That staff member was found by the committee to have committed a contempt of the Assembly and, as a consequence, that staff member chose, on Thursday of last week when the report came down with that finding, to resign as a member of the staff of the opposition.

I have a feeling that very little of what I say will have a bearing on the outcome of the subsequent motion which has been mooted in this place-that is, a motion of censure of me. I believe that minds have been made up on this matter for a variety of motives. A majority of members want to nail a certain hide to the wall, and the findings of the select committee, which might once have been viewed as a stepping stone in that direction, are now an encumbrance, but only a small one, in that process.

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