Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 February 2010) . . Page.. 555 ..
of the low standards of the Stanhope Labor government—that it does cast doubts upon this process; it does cast doubts on how we operate things; it does cast doubts on the Chief Minister and the standards that he sets. If we go to the House of Representatives Practice, if we go to the companion to the standing orders, it is quite clear, Mr Speaker, that Mr Barr should not be on this committee.
MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (10.28): It is not the practice of the Assembly for an MLA who has made a complaint to be a member of a privileges committee that is investigating that complaint. We have heard that clearly laid out here this morning.
I agree with Mr Smyth that privilege is a very serious matter. Therefore, I think it is important to follow what has been a practice in this place. In this Assembly the practice is based on House of Representatives Practice. It is the guide to which we must turn if there is a question relating to procedure or the conduct of business of the Assembly that is not provided for in our own standing orders.
While it is the case that the House of Representatives has a standing committee of privileges, we often use select committees. However, it is stated on page 747—the page that Mrs Dunne referred to:
A member may be discharged from the committee and another appointed in his or her place for the consideration of particular inquiries. This may occur if a member of the committee has raised the matter being inquired into …
This is the practice of the House of Representatives and we should follow that guidance. This privileges inquiry was set up to ensure the integrity of Assembly committees and to ensure that respect for them is maintained. Therefore, it is vital that we ensure procedural fairness, that we ensure natural justice. That is incredibly important in the way that this committee is going to operate.
We have 20 years of practice in this place: people who raise a privileges matter do not sit on that committee. I do support the argument that you cannot be the prosecutor as well as being a member of the jury. It is incredibly important that if this is about ensuring the integrity of the committee process, we need to ensure that we follow all procedural fairness and natural justice. It is incredibly important in this matter. It is about the integrity of committees, it is about the integrity of this Assembly.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.30): It is worth reflecting on some of the conflicts that people have argued in this place. We only have to look to the estimates committee—
MR SPEAKER: Sorry, Mr Seselja, just one moment. Members, there is a very high level of background noise in the chamber. Can you keep the level of conversations down a little, please?
MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. We only have to look to the estimates committee which has just been set up. The chair of that committee will be the leader of a party who has to pass the budget. The chair of the committee that is going to be