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Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Page: 5064

Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (18:45): by leave—I move:

That the following matter be referred to the Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests: Whether, in the course of his statement of 21 May 2012, the Honourable Member for Dobell deliberately misled the House.

I wish to speak briefly to the motion. I do not think I need to canvass the issues that were canvassed at two o'clock this afternoon. I think they are all on the record in the Hansard and in the general public firmament, and the documents that I tabled have obviously been considered by the Speaker. I accept the Speaker's ruling that no matter of this kind has ever been referred before or given precedence. I am grateful to the Speaker that he has indicated in the statement that it is a matter of great concern to the parliament and that, therefore, if it was possible for this to be referred to the Privileges Committee by leave, then such a motion should be moved and, if supported, it would go to the Privileges Committee. I am grateful to the Leader of the House that he has indicated to me that he has given leave and is prepared to allow this matter to go to the Privileges Committee without division.

Obviously the argument that the opposition has put on this matter time and again, but particularly today, is that it is uniquely in the power of parliament to determine its own actions and whether its privileges have been breached. Charging a member with misleading the House is one of the most serious charges that anyone can make of either opposition or government. I do not do it lightly. I do believe that the Privileges Committee is the correct forum to determine this matter and, therefore, I commend this motion to the House.