Thursday, 23 October 2008
Mr Speaker, in the Daily Telegraph today Mr Steve Lewis has written an article which appears to reflect that he had access to the report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests which will be tabled later today. The article appears to be a selective leak of the committee’s conclusions about the behaviour of both the member for Robertson and the shadow minister for early childhood education, child care, women and youth, the member for Indi, which as a matter of fact were not dissimilar. The article does not mention the committee’s conclusions about the member for Indi at all.
The leaking of any report is damaging to the operation of a committee. The selective leaking of this report is even more damaging to the successful operation of the committee. This is the first time that a privileges committee report has been leaked to my knowledge, and I believe that honourable members share my concerns at the seriousness of this apparent leaking of the report. I table a copy of the article.
Order! If the Chief Government Whip is seeking some guidance on whether there should be further action taken, in accordance with the practice that has been established by the House the committee itself should consider the matter only to the extent that it should consider particularly whether the matter has caused or is likely to cause substantial interference with its work, with the committee system or with the proper functioning of the House. So it would be, in the first instance, a matter for the committee itself.