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Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Page: 4418


The PRESIDENT (12:38 PM) —Senator Heffernan, I have referred your subsequent letter to the Privileges Committee as part of the original letter you referred to me earlier and which was referred by this chamber. In respect of how the Privileges Committee will treat these matters, that is a matter for the Privileges Committee itself. I would not dare to try to interfere or be seen to be interfering. I have given precedence to these matters but I have done no more than that. It is a matter of whether the Senate chamber will agree to these motions proceeding and being referred to the Privileges Committee. I think that is the most advantageous place for me to leave it, Senator Heffernan.

Senator Chris Evans to move on the next day of sitting:

   That the following matters be referred to the Committee of Privileges for inquiry and report:

In relation to the hearing of the Economics Legislation Committee on 19 June 2009 on the OzCar program:

(a)   whether there was any false or misleading evidence given, particularly by reference to a document that was later admitted to be false;

(b)   whether there was any improper interference with the hearing, particularly by any collusive prearrangement of the questions to be asked and the answers to be given for an undisclosed purpose,

and, if so, whether any contempt was committed in that regard.

Senator Fielding to move on the next day of sitting:

   That the following matters be referred to the Committee of Privileges:

(a)   Whether there was a manipulation of the evidence given before the Economics Legislation Committee on Friday, 19 June 2009 in relation to the scripting of a series of questions asked and answers given in evidence before that committee and, if so, whether any contempt of the Senate was committed in that regard;

(b)   Whether there was a manipulation of the evidence given before the Standing Committee on Economics at its hearing on 22 October 2008 in relation to the scripting of questions asked in evidence before that committee and, if so, whether any contempt of the Senate was committed in that regard; and

(c)   Whether the Senate’s Privilege Resolution No. 6 setting out matters constituting contempt needs to be reviewed, specifically, to cover matters arising from (a) and (b) above.