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Thursday, 14 March 2013
Page: 2210

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (16:14): Madam Speaker, I wish to raise a matter of privilege, in relation to the truth of statements made by the Prime Minister about Mr Michael Smith in the House of Representatives on 28 November 2012. This morning, the member for Gellibrand, as Chair of the Standing Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests, read into Hansard a letter from Mr Smith rebutting the Prime Minister's remarks. As the member for Gellibrand stated this morning:

… the committee emphasises that, as required by the right of reply resolution, it has not considered or judged the truth of any statements made by the member in the House or by the person seeking a response.

While Mr Smith has been given the right of reply and a certain degree of natural justice with the reading into Hansard of his letter, I believe the committee should be given the opportunity to judge the truth of the statements at issue made by the Prime Minister to the parliament. I therefore request, Madam Speaker, that you consider whether a prima facie breach of privilege has occurred.

The SPEAKER: Again, for everybody, rights of reply do not judge the matters. That is not what they are there for. Just for the record—and for everybody else out in radio land and on the email at the moment—rights of reply are a privilege that the parliament offers individuals and they should be respected. It is not about judging the matter. I will take into consideration the matter that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has put before us.