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Wednesday, 18 August 1993
Page: 218

  The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Teague)—On behalf of the President, I bring a statement entitled Privilege—Matter raised by Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which reads:

By letter dated 9 August 1993 the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Senator Cooney, on behalf of the Committee, has raised with me a matter of privilege under standing order 81.

The matter raised by the Committee relates to an advertisement which was placed in newspapers by an organisation known as the Watchdog Association Incorporated, and which refers to the inquiry by the Committee into the Australian Securities Commission.

As the documentation provided to me by the Committee indicates, the advertisement could be regarded as an interference with the ability of the Senate and the Committee to perform their inquiry functions, and as a false or misleading report of the proceedings of the Senate and the Committee. These matters are referred to in paragraphs (1) and (7) of Resolution 6 of the Senate's Privileges Resolutions of 25 February 1988.

Under the standing order and the Privilege Resolutions I am required to determine whether the matter should have precedence over other business, having regard to the criteria prescribed in the resolutions. I have explained to the Senate in previous cases the way in which I apply the criteria.

The matter raises serious issues and clearly meets the criteria which I am required to consider.

I therefore determine that a motion to refer the matter to the Privileges Committee may have precedence over other business under standing order 81.

I table the documents provided to me by the Committee.

Senator Cooney may now give a notice of motion.