Page 2265 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 16 June 2009

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Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: On Friday, 12 June 2009, Mr Hanson, in accordance with standing order 276, gave written notice of what he considered to be a breach of privilege. The matter relates to a letter he received from the Chief Executive of ACT Health concerning a press release by Mr Hanson. Both of these documents were provided to me by Mr Hanson.

Under the provisions of standing order 276, I must determine as soon as practicable whether or not a matter of privilege merits precedence over other business. In doing so, I have considered whether the issue is one of substance and supported by the facts as presented. If, in my opinion, the matter does merit precedence, I must inform the Assembly of the decision and the member who raised the matter may move a motion without notice forthwith to refer the matter to a select committee appointed by the Assembly for that purpose.

As Speaker, I am not required to judge whether there has been a breach of privilege or a contempt of the Assembly; I can only judge whether a matter merits precedence. Having considered the letter, I am prepared to allow precedence to a motion to refer the matter to a select committee should Mr Hanson choose to move such a motion.

Mr Stanhope: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: would you be prepared to table advice that you received on this matter from the Clerk?

MR SPEAKER: I do not have any written advice, Mr Stanhope, so there is nothing to table.

Mr Stanhope: Would you be prepared to make a statement, Mr Speaker, on the advice that you did receive orally from the Clerk in relation to this matter?

MR SPEAKER: Mr Stanhope, in response to your matter, I will make a brief statement. As I said in my statement, I received a number of documents from Mr Hanson. I looked at those documents. I read the transcripts from the estimates committee to give myself further background. I sought advice from the Clerk. I read the standing orders. And I formed a view that, as required under the standing orders, I have to make essentially a prima facie judgement as to whether there is a matter here and whether it warrants the time of the Assembly to debate this matter further. I formed a view that there do seem to be matters that warrant putting this to the Assembly. That is the basis on which I proceeded.

Dissent from ruling

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10:05): Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Speaker’s ruling be dissented from.

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