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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1494 ..

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja!

MR CORBELL: Mr Seselja was excluded from that debate because the question before the chair was how staff contracts should be administered. It was about how staff contracts should be administered. That was the question before the chair. He had a conflict in relation to that matter. That is not the case in this instance. There is no question before the chair about the contracts between Ms Gallagher and her staff or Mr Barr and his staff; none whatsoever.

The question before the chair is about whether or not a report from the Gambling and Racing Commission should be referred to the PAC. That has nothing to do with the contractual arrangement between members and their staff. This is a fundamentally flawed interpretation of the standing order. It is fundamentally flawed. It is designed to exclude members from votes where there is a clear and direct conflict in relation to contracts. There is no contract being brought into question in the question that will be before the chair shortly.

Mr Smyth is about to move a motion asking that the report of the Gambling and Racing Commission in relation to the proposed sale of the Canberra Labor club be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. That is a different question from the employment relationship between Ms Gallagher and her staff and Mr Barr and his staff. It is a fundamentally flawed understanding of the standing order.

This is simply an attempt to smear members of the government by making allegations about conflicts of interest and impropriety. We hear this every time from the Liberal Party. The Gambling and Racing Commission has not found any misconduct whatsoever. It has not found any misconduct, Mr Speaker. It has not found anything. So the Liberals called for this inquiry. It happened. They did not like the answer they got from the Gambling and Racing Commission; so now they are trying to re-litigate it through an inquiry referral to the PAC.

At the same time, Mr Speaker, they try to blacken the names of two members of this government by claiming that they are conflicted, they have a conflict of interest and they should not participate in the debate. They do so on the basis of a fundamental misunderstanding of the standing orders. So we reject the assertion. We reject it absolutely. There is no basis to make this claim except the deliberate attempt of the opposition to smear the reputations of members in this place.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.51): Mr Speaker, I refer to the ruling of your predecessor, which we have been talking about in terms of the precedent. The ruling of your predecessor was, indeed, that I was excluded from debate, I was excluded from a vote, despite the fact that there was a piece of legislation that did not actually impact on my employment relationship. It did not impact. The legislation in no way dealt with or referred to the employment relationships that I had. But your predecessor, on the advice of the Clerk, ruled that I could not participate in that debate or in that vote.

I repeat that the legislation that was being debated in no way actually impacted on the employment relationship and the contractual relationship which I was a party to. So

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