Page 2764 - Week 09 - Thursday, 27 September 2007

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and is applied in an entirely different way. This is why I propose such consideration be undertaken by the administration and procedure standing committee. It is important that we clear it up. It is important that we do everything that would certainly raise the standard, raise the expectation, but, most importantly, raise the perception and the reality of how the people of the ACT see this Assembly.

I will go back to where I started from, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker: where you a highly regarded individual such as the Reverend Tim Costello saying that the ACT Labor Party’s dependence on poker machines meant that it could not make the right decisions about gaming, he is going to the heart of standing order 156. The Reverend Tim Costello is, in effect, saying that the ACT Labor Party have a conflict of interest. They are held hostage, held captive, by the fact that, for instance, in the financial year 2005-06, total receipts to the ALP from clubs with poker machines was $385,923—that is, 55 per cent of their income; 55 per cent of what has been declared in their returns. The Costello quote makes it quite clear that the perception not just in this place, not just in this community, but in the Australian community at large is that the ACT Labor government cannot make decisions based on sound reasoning and fact because they are beholden to their dependence on and their addiction to gambling revenues. Indeed, Reverend Costello went on to say that Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court—

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, I just bring you again to standing order 55 regarding imputations of improper motives and personal reflections on members. They are considered highly disorderly. I have already asked you to refrain from imputations of conflicts of interest, and I will warn you once again.


Mr Mulcahy: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, just speaking on that ruling, if I could, I do not think that Mr Smyth has reflected on members. What I heard him say was that there is a measure of ambiguity under the standing order and, indeed, the self-government act, which warrants examination and investigation by the administration committee because he says it creates circumstances of ambiguity. I think the fact that he is seeking to refer it to a committee is a clear indication that he is not making the assertion of a direct conflict of interest.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Mulcahy, Mr Smyth referred directly to Labor members of this government in his statement.

Mr Mulcahy: That is right, but he did not say “conflict of interest”. He says there is an ambiguity in terms of this issue, and that is why it needs referral.

MR SMYTH: If I can speak to the point of order, I do understand, and standing order 55 is there for a reason, and I am trying not to tread into the realms of standing order 55. What I was just saying is what the Reverend Costello was saying. What I am saying is that this is the problem. This is the nub of the problem in that somebody like Tim Costello in Melbourne knows about what is going on here in the ACT and is claiming—I am quoting him—that the dependence on poker machine revenue meant the government could not make the right decisions about gaming. That is the nub of the matter.

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