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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 22 September 2011) . . Page.. 4331 ..

Mr Seselja: Mr Speaker, I seek your ruling on this. As you would be aware, I received a letter from you in relation to this matter asking for my comment, and presumably that was sent to other members of the privileges committee asking for their comment, in relation to this very matter that we are being asked to debate today. So I am just seeking your ruling on whether or not it is appropriate to be having this debate ahead of the response that has been sought from the privileges committee that has been set up into the very conduct that Mr Barr is alleging in his motion.

Mr Corbell: On the point of order, Mr Speaker, my understanding of the motion moved by Mr Barr is that it relates to the details of a media statement issued by Mr Smyth earlier this week, subsequent to the establishment of that committee. Further, I understand that the nature of that media release is not subject to that committee inquiry.

MR SPEAKER: On the point of order, my advice and my view, Mr Seselja, is that it is possible to have these two matters take place concurrently. I think it is important, given that there is a privileges committee running, that in the course of the debate members are mindful of that committee process. It has been set up and will shortly commence. Mr Barr, the question is that the motion be agreed to.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I state from the outset that a motion such as this is not something that the government would move lightly, and we certainly do not this afternoon. But in the circumstances it is the only appropriate means by which Mr Smyth can be held accountable and to be made to answer for his behaviour.

From the moment back in August that Mr Smyth mounted his high horse over the matter of the appointment of the Auditor-General, his public statements on the subject have become increasingly shrill and increasingly careless of the truth, culminating in Tuesday of this week in a media release that was nothing short of disgraceful—a contempt of this Assembly, an attempt to improperly influence the outcome of a committee inquiry and a serious and defamatory attack upon the Chief Minister. Mr Smyth’s behaviour shows his contempt for the very processes that he himself sought to establish. His actions show that he is out of control, cannot be trusted and needs to be told so by this Assembly in no uncertain terms.

Mr Speaker, everyone in this place, with the evident exception of Mr Smyth, understands the importance of due process. The government do not believe that the establishment of a select committee to inquire into the circumstances of the appointment of the Auditor-General was necessary or warranted. But we understand politics, and we also understand the absolute right of the Assembly to undertake such an inquiry—

Mrs Dunne: A point of order, Mr Speaker.

MR BARR: and to satisfy themselves—

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Barr. Stop the clocks. Mrs Dunne?

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