Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2657 ..
MR STANHOPE(Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (10.10): Mr Speaker, I do not want to speak for long, because more than enough has been said, but I want to refer to one issue in relation to the amendment. I am concerned about the capacity for this committee to be seen to be above question in terms of the capacity of individual members of the Assembly to be seen to not have a conflict of interest in relation to their representation on the committee that the Assembly quite obviously, from what has been said by members, is going to appoint tonight.
Almost all 17 members of the Assembly are in one way or another disqualified from membership of this privileges committee. On this side, a couple of members of the government have been nominated as the subject of the inquiry and a couple of our members were on the Estimates Committee; you, Mr Speaker, are a decision maker in relation to process; similar considerations apply to many members of the opposition; and, of course, in relation to the infamous ABC affair, the ABC journalist involved has essentially nominated a member of the crossbench as the dobber of the information. So, as far as I am concerned, all three members of the crossbench need to disqualify themselves.
Ms Tucker: We're the suspects?
MR STANHOPE: Well, in my mind you are. Chris Uhlmann effectively nominated the person who provided the information as a member of the crossbench. There are only three of you. One of you did it.
Ms Dundas: Wasn't on the committee. Haven't you read the reports, Jon?
MR STANHOPE: Well, that is in the public domain; that is what is in the atmosphere-that a member of the crossbench was the person who contacted the ABC. I guess when the committee is established-
Mrs Burke: No, you've got it wrong.
MR STANHOPE: Everybody in Canberra thinks it. It is the message that Chris Uhlmann relayed; it is what I believe.
Mrs Burke: You don't follow the facts, Jon.
MR STANHOPE: Well, it is what I believe. Let us get down to tin tacks: it is what I believe on the basis of the reports from the ABC journalist who outed a member of the Assembly. It was Chris Uhlmann who outed a member of the Assembly in relation to the call to the ABC, and from his outing the appearance or the interpretation that I have of his comments is that it was a crossbench member of this place-I think there is a quite clear suggestion from the transcripts of the ABC that it was a member of the crossbench. So no member of this crossbench can in conscience appear on this privileges committee.
So if it is the view of the Assembly to appoint a privileges committee tonight, the motion really should be amended to provide that on a proportional basis there be two members