Page 2436 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 1 July 2008

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Mr Speaker, over time—and I have attended some—you have called together all the chairs of committees. Why have you called together the chairs of committees? You have called them together because they have procedural authority on behalf of their committee and you called them together to discuss the arrangements as to how committees operate in this place under the authority of the Assembly. You call the chairs together—you do not call all the committee members together—because the chairs operate under the procedural authority as outlined by the House of Representatives Practice, on behalf of the committees.

When committees have not come together between meetings and something needs to be done to effect the smooth running of the committee, it is quite appropriate for chairs to write letters. It was drafted in consultation with the committee secretary, and I believe it was drafted with the authority of the House of Representatives Practice, which of course helps to govern the way we behave here.

Let us have no mistake about this: this is just a revenge motion. This is to try and take the focus off a government—

Mrs Burke: Petty.

MR SMYTH: Yes, a government that is petty, a government that is faltering, a government that is seen as out of touch and a government that is seen as arrogant in the community. It is a government that flouts the rules when it suits it because it has the majority.

This motion will get up and the committee will be established. The interesting question will be: is Mr Corbell, in his zeal to reach the truth, willing to tell how the privilege of the committee was breached? Is he willing to behave in the manner that he asks this Assembly to authorise today? It will be interesting to see whether or not the government approve the amendment that I have moved. If the government do not agree to this amendment then they are simply saying there is one rule for them and one rule for everybody else.

If the government agrees to this amendment then Mr Corbell may well be obliged to attend this committee and reveal the source of his information in the committee regarding this supposed crime. In terms of the integrity of the committees—and I make no judgements on what happened; that is for the committee to determine—if Mr Stefaniak has made a mistake, which he has already apologised for and which, by his own words, he said has been corrected in the committee, this should go away.

Mr Speaker, it will be interesting to see whether Mr Corbell has conviction regarding the zeal in which he wrote to you and whether or not he is willing to reveal to the select committee who revealed this information to him, because that is the greater breach here. Having regard to the way the committee system operates in this place, it does rely on a large amount of trust. We all have reports, we all have drafts and we all know what goes on in the meetings. Until that is revealed through the minutes and those are tabled in this place, they are confidential. The foundation of the committee system is the trust inside the committee that things said in the committee remain in the committee.

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