Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3942 ..
MRS CROSS (continuing):
I caution my fellow members about giving the imprimatur of parliamentary privilege to another false and misleading statement. I will be calling a division on this matter. Once this statement is tabled, Mr Osborne's statement will receive the legal immunities of this house, even if the law is broken. I will not stand by while the esteem of this chamber is lowered, and not raise my voice in protest.
Whilst Mr Osborne claims to be an ordinary citizen, he is in fact queue-jumping. Ms Tucker is aiding him in that process by not insisting that he uses a procedure in this house that has been in the standing orders since 1995. Mr Osborne is not seeking to do this as a citizen, he is doing it as an ex-MLA, asking for favours from his former colleagues. In asking Ms Tucker to do this, Mr Osborne is placing himself above an ordinary citizen. This creates a new precedent for former MLAs. Perhaps we should contact Mr Kaine, Mr Moore and Ms Horodny, to see if there is anything they would like tabled.
The resolution of 4 May 1995 creates a clear procedure and contains a number of checks and balances. Primarily, a submission needs to be made to the Speaker that the person or corporation has been adversely affected in reputation, or injured in occupation, trade, office or financial credit, or that a person's privacy has been breached. The most important aspects of this are that the Speaker needs to be satisfied and that the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure is also involved.
Mr Speaker, I ask you to rule this out of order, as Ms Tucker's attempt to table Mr Osborne's right of reply in this way circumvents the spirit and intent of the citizen's right of reply, of 4 May 1995, in the standing orders.
When I call for a division on this false statement, all members will be called upon to cast a vote on whether they wish to endorse, with the full force of parliamentary privilege, the contents of Paul Osborne's statement. If this document is tabled, it will send a wrong message to the community-that MLAs and former MLAs do not have to abide by the rules of the general community, and that we in this chamber can simply make it up as we go along.
This is the sort of arrogance the community rightly abhors. Mr Osborne should be condemned for attempting to circumvent the rules in this way.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mrs Cross, unless I misunderstood you, you have asked me to rule the suspension of standing orders out of order. I do not think that is available to me, in these circumstances. I cannot rule a member's motion to suspend standing orders out of order.
I can look further at the matter in relation to the statement Ms Tucker is seeking to table. I would be happy to do that, but I do not think I could do it by the expiry of 15 minutes, which is the time allowed for this debate to occur. Unless somebody is prepared to move to adjourn this debate for a short period while I have a look at the matter, the standing orders will be suspended and it will be tabled without my being able to come back to you.
MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, you cannot rule that the tabling is out of order?