Page 2710 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 16 August 2005

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Ms Porter acknowledged a possible conflict of interest in relation to both of us being on the Labor Club board in the past.

Mr Seselja: Only after I asked. Only after I raised it.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Seselja!

MR GENTLEMAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. This is before Mr Seselja made any statement. Mr Seselja took this under advisement and the secretary was asked to approach the Clerk of the Assembly to seek advice on a possible conflict of interest and how we should deal with that. At the second meeting to discuss the proposed variation to the territory plan, Mr Seselja was, as has occurred on numerous other occasions, unable to attend the meeting and so the advice from the Clerk was held over until the third meeting.

By the third meeting of the committee on this very simple draft variation it was again Mr Seselja who held up discussions in relation to the proposed variation. The secretary informed Mr Seselja that the advice from the Clerk had been that there was a possible conflict of interest, but members of the committee were able to remain in full and discuss the draft variation. Mr Seselja then went on to explain that, yet again, the discussion would have to be held over for another meeting as his adviser Mr Justin De Domenico had not yet read the DV and therefore Mr Seselja was not able to comment on the DV.

By the time Mr Seselja was ready to join the discussion, it had been over one month and four meetings since this simple DV had been referred to the committee. Mr Seselja then asked that Ms Porter and I stand down from discussions in relation to DV258—I gather he had talked to Mr De Domenico by then—as we may have a possible conflict of interest. As noted in the report, many members of the community, including members of both sides of politics, are members of clubs for social reasons and therefore membership of a club should not disentitle committee members from issuing a comment on a report.

When it was decided, with the Clerk’s advice, that all members of the committee could continue discussions in relation to this draft variation, Mr Seselja withdrew from deliberations. The committee regrets Mr Seselja’s withdrawal from deliberations on this draft variation. Committee membership should work with a bipartisan approach and not attempt to create a political advantage or try to destabilise the committee. As committee chair, I close by calling, yet again, on Mr Seselja to work with this committee with a bipartisan approach, to consider the Canberra community and the committee’s responsibilities to our constituents. Thank you.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Planning and Environment—Standing Committee

Report 12

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.58): I present the following report:

Planning and Environment—Standing Committee—Report 12—Draft variation to the territory plan No 255—Commercial C, Precinct Rationalisation—Mawson

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