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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3941 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Looking to the dignity of the house requires being prepared to set a reasonable standard. As members are well aware, the broader community is not overly impressed with the standards in political life. As I am sure members know, survey after survey consistently shows that we are not held in high regard.

This report is a measured report. It is by no means a strident document. It is measured, and supports findings with strong and cogent arguments. It upholds accepted standards and ethical behaviour. As leaders of our community, we have a responsibility to apply these standards to our own work. In fact, I would suggest the dignity of the house requires it.

I seek leave to table a statement from a citizen of Canberra, Mr Osborne. His name was drawn into debate under privilege. I consider it is only fair that, if he wants to submit his own view of what was said, we are able to table that-and he has a right of citizen's reply.

As members know, it is often the case that, if a member says something about a person in the community-or it could be an incident-which is disputed, another member can come back and say, "On behalf of that person, I want to put a different view." They put that view, and say that the person denies it, or whatever. That is what Mr Osborne is asking to do-but through a written document. At this point, I seek leave to table that paper.

Leave not granted.

Motion (by Ms Tucker ) proposed:

That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent her from making a statement and presenting a paper.

MRS CROSS (4.26): Mr Speaker, as opposed to the last time this happened in this chamber, I am now here to defend myself. As opposed to the last time this occurred, I have seen a copy of Mr Osborne's statement, which Ms Tucker has circulated and is seeking to table today.

I will not grant leave for a defamatory statement against any member of this chamber to be tabled. I certainly will not sit idly by, to be impugned in this way again. I believe that the contents of the statutory declaration are false and misleading, and that certain penalties may arise from such a declaration. This Assembly should not be endorsing a false and misleading statement. Section 11 of the Commonwealth Statutory Declarations Act 1959 provides that a person must not wilfully make a false statement in a statutory declaration-and the penalty is four years imprisonment.

It is stated that the statutory declaration of Mr Osborne was sworn in two jurisdictions-the Commonwealth and the ACT/New South Wales. Under the resolution passed by this Assembly on 4 May 1995, citizens of the territory have a right of reply. These provisions will not be complied with by the tabling of this statement. It is highly irregular. Mr Osborne knows the standing orders-he sat in the place for over six years.

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