Page 1485 - Week 05 - Thursday, 7 April 2005

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Thursday, 7 April 2005

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.


Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: Members, late yesterday Mrs Dunne gave written notice of a possible breach of privilege concerning certain actions of Mr Corbell and Dr Foskey. Mrs Dunne queried whether Mr Corbell had offered Dr Foskey a position on the proposed select committee on estimates in return for her vote to secure a government chair on the committee; and, if this was the case, there was therefore a matter of privilege. Mrs Dunne also provided me with a record of conversation between herself and Dr Foskey. I present the following paper for the information of members:

Alleged breach of privilege—Letter from Mrs Dunne to the Speaker, dated 6 April 2005.

Under the provisions of standing order 71, I must determine, as soon as practicable, whether the matter merits precedence over other business. If, in my opinion, the matter does merit precedence, I must inform the Assembly of the decision and the member who raised the matter may move a motion without notice and forthwith refer the matter to a select committee appointed by the Assembly for that purpose.

If, in my opinion, the matter does not merit precedence, I must inform the member in writing and may also inform the Assembly of the decision. I am not required to judge whether there has been a breach of privilege or a contempt of the Assembly. I can only judge whether the matter merits precedence.

In my opinion, I have to distinguish between what is part of the cut and thrust of political life in a parliament, where it would be expected that pressures would be brought to bear on a whole range of decisions, and, on the other hand, ensure that members are not improperly influenced in the way they perform their duties, in coming to a decision on whether this matter warrants privilege or not.

Having considered the matter, I have concluded that the matter does not merit precedence. Whilst my decisions are always subject to decisions of this Assembly, that is my decision in relation to this matter. I will write to Mrs Dunne today to inform her formally of my decision.

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move a motion concerning your decision not to give precedence to the matter raised by me.

Leave not granted.

Suspension of standing orders

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.34): I move:

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