Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1799 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
certainly do that. But these documents are not the entire sum of the documents before the inquiry-they are just one lot-and we would be setting a precedent. I would like to hear more from the government as to why they say that privilege should be extended, why we should allow that to occur.
Also, a valid point has been made about its being too late anyway if these documents were embargoed for release at 4.00 pm as it is now some five and a bit hours later and there is a strong argument that privilege cannot be given retrospectively, as that would make it all too easy. People in this place could put out a media release slagging off and then come in here and read out the media release in, say, the adjournment debate and expect privilege to be given retrospectively, which would not occur, so there may be some problems there.
I would like to hear a lot more from the government as to why we should depart from the normal practice for this place. If these documents go down this track, what is going to happen in relation to the other documents that, presumably, have been given to the inquiry? Also, there is the point Ms Tucker validly raised in relation to the act covering witness statements and documents at any rate.
MRS CROSS (9.17): I have to say, Mr Speaker, that I never expected to get up and speak on this matter. I cannot believe that a legally trained member of this place would do such a thing. I certainly did not expect the Chief Minister to release this information.
Mr Wood: Oh, get out!
MRS CROSS: I cannot. I do not believe that he has done it maliciously. Mr Quinlan says that we are supporting this motion because of what the government had been told and because of malice. That is not so, Mr Quinlan. I am very concerned that it appears that you are doing something similar to what a former member of this place tried to do to another member insofar as using the privilege argument and the sending out of information the night before to the media and then trying to get privilege in this place. I am concerned that the advice that was given to the government on this issue beggars belief.
Mr Quinlan: There was no malice in that, either, I'm sure.
MRS CROSS: There was malice in that one. Mr Speaker, the member on the government bench needs to know that this member's opinion and position on this matter has nothing to do with malice. It is not that; it has to do with process. I am very concerned that process in this instance has been abused.
Question resolved in the negative.
Gaming Machine (Cap) Amendment Bill 2003
Proposed amendments-Speaker's ruling
MR SPEAKER: Some amendments were circulated earlier today in relation to the Gaming Machine (Cap) Amendment Bill. I have had the Clerk examine them and I have considered the matter and I intend to make some rulings in relation to those amendments.