Page 4239 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2005

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I just want to state that this motion has been proposed by the Clerk. If carried, it would mean that every time there is a debate related to housing, understanding that I have a contract with the department of housing, it would cover the period while I am in government housing and preclude the necessity for me to ask for permission to speak every time. I commend the motion to members.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (3.31): Dr Foskey raised this matter with some members of this place, including the government, on an earlier occasion. On that occasion, the government did indicate to Dr Foskey that, whilst we accept that her tenancy of an ACT government housing property should not in the normal course of events restrict her from participating in debates in relation to public housing—in fact, it is potentially of some benefit—we also believe that a catch-all motion such as the one proposed by Dr Foskey that, regardless of the circumstances, she should be permitted to debate issues to do with ACT housing is not appropriate.

The reason for that is that there may be instances where Dr Foskey’s continued tenancy of an ACT government property may be in direct conflict with a matter that is to be debated in this place. Therefore, it is the government’s preference that, when these matters come about, the Assembly decide on the merits of the case as and when it arises. That is no different from the process that is required of, for example, ministers in cabinet whereby, whenever there is a potential conflict of interest, it is brought to the attention of the meeting for the meeting to decide whether or not the minister should continue to participate, rather than moving a catch-all provision regardless of the circumstances of the matter under consideration.

Given that the government have previously advised Dr Foskey’s office of this position, I think it is appropriate that we maintain that position. The government cannot agree to a standing exemption but is prepared to consider exemptions on a case-by-case basis.

Motion negatived.

Public housing waiting lists—authorisation of member’s participation in proceedings

Motion (by Dr Foskey, by leave) agreed to:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes the provisions of section 15 of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 relating to conflict of interest and those of standing order 156 which provide that the Assembly may decide how those provisions may be applied;

(2) notes that Dr Foskey has declared that she has a residential tenancy agreement with the ACT Government; and

(3) decides that, notwithstanding Dr Foskey’s residential tenancy agreement, it is in the public interest to allow Dr Foskey to participate in Private Members’ business, notice No 2.

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