Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 August 2017) . . Page.. 2377 ..
an article was published by the Canberra Times regarding the work of the public accounts committee. This article appears to outline the private deliberations of the public accounts committee. This article also appears to reference confidential proceedings of the committee. These disclosures, in my opinion, have the ability to substantially interfere with the work of the committee.
I believe that a serious breach of standing orders has occurred. I ask the Assembly to consider the establishment of a select committee on privileges to examine this further. I have not come to this lightly but I believe it is the only way to ensure the integrity of the public accounts committee. For the benefit of all members, I would ask that the Speaker table any advice from the Clerk on the matter.
MADAM SPEAKER: On the point of advice from the Clerk, I am happy to circulate the advice received from the Clerk. I table the following paper:
Possible matter of privilege—Matter raised by Mr Pettersson—Clerk’s advice, dated 31 July 2017.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.43): I wish to speak to the motion to establish a privileges committee. I am the chair of the public accounts committee and I would like to speak on the subject and make it clear what the process was. But I am somewhat constrained. Some of what the process is has been revealed by letter but other parts of it I will not touch on. I will try to give members as much information as possible while being constrained by the standing orders.
It is the case that on 23 June—that was a Saturday I recollect—there was an article in the Canberra Times in relation to the public accounts committee inquiry into the Auditor-General’s report about certain acquisitions of the Land Development Agency. I recollect that on the day prior to that I was approached by the committee’s secretary who said that he had been approached by a journalist from the Canberra Times who wanted to ask some questions about this. The committee secretary rightly referred the journalist to me as I am the chair of the committee and the person authorised to speak publicly on committee matters.
I then, through the media adviser who advises the Liberal Party members, made it clear that I was prepared to receive a call from the journalist in question. In fact, I think she came and visited my office but I stand corrected on that. The journalist asked me some questions about the forthcoming inquiry. The inquiry had been announced and submissions were due to close—I do not recall whether it was that day or the following week. I think it was the following week. The journalist asked me about why the inquiry was being held, had the committee contacted particular people and what the process of contacting people was.
I gave the journalist a general response. I do not recollect the words at the moment but at the time I said things along the lines of—and I admit that this was probably an overstretch; I did say at the time that it was reported in the Canberra Times—that the committee believed that this was a serious matter, that there were serious amounts of taxpayers’ money involved and that that is why it warranted an inquiry. I had also