Page 1498 - Week 05 - Thursday, 7 April 2005

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

In response Dr Foskey said:

“It is more important that I’m on the Committee than we quibble over who has the chairmanship”.

I replied that the decision on the chairmanship was not a quibble but was about the precedents of the Assembly.

Dr Foskey indicated to me her most important concern was being a member of the committee.

I said to her that if she became a member of the committee we should discuss the chairmanship further.

I concluded the conversation by suggesting to Dr Foskey she needed to be “careful” in her dealings with the government.

It took a while for what it was that Dr Foskey had told me to dawn on me. What Dr Foskey had told me was that Mr Corbell had said, “I will give you something in return for your vote.” This, as Mr Smyth has said, is not the normal cut and thrust of, “You support my amendment and I will pass your piece of legislation.” It is not a personal benefit to a member if a piece of legislation is passed. But what Mr Corbell did in making this offer—and I do not think that Dr Foskey denies that this offer was made—was to offer a benefit. He was offering to give her a position on the estimates committee, something that she wanted to obtain, yes, in return for a particular thing. House of Representatives Practice on page 710 and following on page 711 states:

Section 73A of the Crimes Act 1914 provides that a person who, in order to influence or affect a Member in the exercise of his duty or authority as such a Member, or to induce him to absent himself from the House or any committee of which he is a Member, gives or confers or promises or offers to give or confer any property or benefit of any kind—

a benefit of any kind—

to or on the Member or any person is guilty of an offence.

That offence carries a penalty of two years imprisonment. If any member was charged here and found guilty, they would lose their seat over it. House of Representatives Practice goes on to say:

As well as being a criminal offence, the offering of a bribe to a Member to influence them in their parliamentary conduct is equally a contempt.

More importantly, Mr Speaker, and probably more forcefully, Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice, on page 599, says:

A person shall not, by fraud, intimidation, force or threat of any kind, by the offer or promise of any inducement or benefit of any kind, or by any other improper means, influence a Senator in the Senator’s conduct as a Senator …

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .