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Tuesday, 8 May 2012
Page: 4127

The SPEAKER (14:01): Honourable members will know that some allegations have been made in relation to me by James Ashby including a claim under civil law and a claim of criminal behaviour. This is the first opportunity that I have had to affirm to the House that I deny allegations that have been made. I believe I am entitled, like any other person, to have the presumption of innocence. I am also entitled to have these matters dealt with by proper process. It is unfortunate that trial by media seems to have become the order of the day in this country.

As Speaker I have sought to improve the standing of the House by introducing reforms which have been supported by all sides and to ensure the House works in the way intended by the practices and procedures of the House. My understanding is that there is general appreciation in the broader community of what I am seeking to achieve as Speaker.

As honourable members would understand I place great importance on the institution of parliament. I propose to ask the Deputy Speaker as Deputy Speaker and members of the Speaker's panel to assist in chairing the proceedings of the House. There is much more to be done and I look forward to completing what I have begun. I present a copy of my statement and invite the Deputy Speaker to take the chair.