Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Page: 1264

The PRESIDENT (17:01): During the adjournment debate on Monday 27 February, Senator Brown raised a point of order in relation to remarks made by Senator Macdonald. I undertook to review the Hansard and consider the matter. Having done so, I consider that there was no point of order because there is no prohibition in the standing orders on referring to matters that are before committees.

However, in the general—and I hope that people listen and understand that I am speaking in the general—I remind all senators that I have made several statements relating to a particular matter before the Privileges Committee and that I have warned senators against continuing to canvass those or related matters whilst they are before the Privileges Committee.

All senators have a right to feel that any matter before the Privileges Committee that may concern them is dealt with in accordance with its well respected practices without any attempts to argue the case in the chamber. There is an issue of fundamental fairness at stake. I remind senators that privilege resolution 9, which enjoins senators to exercise the great privilege of freedom of speech responsibly, refers specifically to the damage that can be done by allegations made in parliament and to the need for senators to have regard to the rights of others.

Whilst it is not my intention to constrain the rights of individual senators to debate, within the Standing Orders, matters of their choice in the chamber, it is clearly my intention to honour the spirit of privilege resolution 9. Therefore, as a matter of fundamental fairness, it is becoming intolerable to have contributions in the chamber refer to this matter whilst it is under consideration.

There will be time, when the committee reports, for the Senate to consider the committee's findings and recommendations and for there to be a robust debate. I therefore seek the cooperation of all senators to desist from engaging in any further comments and remarks on this matter until the Privileges Committee reports.