Page 1487 - Week 05 - Thursday, 7 April 2005

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warned her for the final time in relation to this matter. I ask you to take the appropriate action.

MR SPEAKER: Withdraw the reference to rorting.

MRS DUNNE: I withdraw the reference to rorts, Mr Speaker. The sensitivity of the Manager of Government Business on this matter is interesting because it seems to me that there is something he has to hide. He is so quick to his feet on every occasion, and quick to decline to give leave on important matters. That we have to spend time, rather than debating issues, debating whether we can debate the issues is a constant symbol of what the Manager of Government Business does. He seems to have something to hide. He feels the need to protect his people from simple scrutiny by the people of the ACT.

That is why we need to suspend standing orders. That is why we need to move a motion in relation to the decision you have made. These are important matters for the territory, for the way the territory is governed, for the confidence in the parliament and the parliamentary process. We need to suspend standing orders today so that these matters may be aired.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (10.39): This is an absurd and preposterous waste of the Assembly’s time. There is no other way to put it. We had Mrs Dunne flounce into this place this morning and make quite improperly—and you required her to withdraw—a whole range of completely false accusations against a number of members of this place.

What Mrs Dunne is saying is that she is unhappy with your decision not to give precedence to a potential breach of privilege which she believes has occurred and which she has raised with you. She now wishes to move a motion in this place this morning, presumably—she has not done us the courtesy of allowing us to see the motion—to refer the matter to a committee of inquiry.

There is no justification for such an action this morning—none whatsoever. Is Mrs Dunne seriously suggesting that members of this place will not have discussions about who makes up the composition of committees and who chairs them? Is she seriously suggesting that that is a matter of privilege? What an absurd suggestion!

In fact, if we were to go so far as to suggest that it was a breach of privilege, then I would tell you who the number one perpetrator would be. It would be the Manager of Opposition Business and former senior adviser to a minister in this place who was involved in all manner of discussions, both in her time as a member and in her time as a staff member to a member, on who would make up the composition of particular committees and who would chair them. What an absurd suggestion it is indeed!

That just shows how desperate the Liberal Party is to try to blacken the names of members of this place through means proper or improper. This is an abuse of the provisions of privilege in this Assembly; it is an abuse of the process that is open to members when serious and grave matters are raised as to whether a member has been improperly influenced in the course of their responsibilities. It is nothing more than a blatant and, I would suggest, base political tactic.

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