Page 3277 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 17 September 2013

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no evidence of that. Has he communicated to other committee members his concerns about the minutes? No, he has not.

Mr Coe: Hang on, Dr Bourke. You’ve got to get your facts right. You might want to clarify it next.

Mr Smyth: Don’t mislead, Chris.

DR BOURKE: Clarify? You are muddying the waters.

MADAM SPEAKER: Dr Bourke, sit down. Mr Smyth, withdraw the allegation.

Mr Smyth: Sorry, I withdraw.

DR BOURKE: The attempt by Mr Coe to muddy a very clear process which happened in that committee meeting is very disappointing.

MADAM SPEAKER: Sit down, Dr Bourke. I would like to draw your attention to the statement that I made. You just said that it was a very clear process. In my statement, having reviewed the matters, I have come to the conclusion that it was not a clear process and that there is doubt. I would ask you, when you are addressing your remarks, to ensure that you do not cast aspersions on a ruling of the Speaker.

DR BOURKE: Thank you, Madam Speaker, and it was not my intention to do so. The processes which happened included, as Mr Gentleman has clearly pointed out, no motion coming from the opposition members to adopt the report. There was no sense of need to go any further with this matter. There was not. But the chair has very graciously said, “Let’s take the report back. Let’s do some work on it in the committee and we can do it there.” So let us make that our process.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.05), in reply: I would like to thank members for their support of my motion. There has been a little bit of to and fro but certainly it is important for the practice in this place to make sure that we do conform with standing orders, that we make the best use of the committee system, such that it is, and that we have some clarification around how committee reports are to be considered.

Standing order 248 is a little ambiguous, and the standing orders are silent in respect of the final consideration of the report. But what is very clear from the convention of this place and the committees and from House of Representatives Practice, as pointed out by Mr Smyth and you, Madam Speaker, is that the chair will consider the report and the committee will consider the report either by inclusion or by exclusion, para by para or page by page, however that may be done. But ultimately, at the end of that process, it needs to be moved by the chair that the report be adopted. And that is very important so that we know whether it is the committee’s report or simply a chair’s draft.

Mr Gentleman knew that, and it is quite clear from the evidence presented by the members of the committee that he tried to make an illusion that that was how it was

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