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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 566


The SPEAKER (15:16): Earlier today the honourable member for Dobell raised as a matter of privilege that, in a statement to the House on 21 May 2012, the former member for Dobell Mr Craig Thomson deliberately misled the House. The honourable member for Dobell provided some background to this matter, including that a question of privilege in relation to Mr Thomson had been referred to the Standing Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests in the last parliament. I note that the chair of the committee of the time, the member for Gellibrand, the Hon. Nicola Roxon, advised the House on 14 February 2013 that the committee had suspended its inquiry as the laying of criminal charges against Mr Thomson raised issues in terms of the operation of the sub judice convention. Ms Roxon noted that the inquiry remained live and, at the conclusion of the judicial proceedings, the committee would consider how it should proceed with the inquiry. That inquiry lapsed with the dissolution of the House. The honourable member for Dobell also made reference to findings of guilt in relation to Mr Thomson by the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on 18 February 2014.

Deliberately misleading the House is one of the matters that can be found to be a contempt. As I noted earlier, this matter was referred to the Standing Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests in the last parliament, with the unanimous agreement of the House. I have considered the principal information provided by the honourable member for Dobell and the background material I have already referred to. In light of the fact that the House had referred this matter to the Standing Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests in the last parliament and that the proceedings were suspended and the findings of guilt by the Melbourne Magistrates' Court, I give precedence for this matter to be referred to the Standing Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests.