Thursday, 18 June 2020
Questions to the Speaker
Yesterday I was asked a question by the member for McMahon about a procedure of the House allowing persons to apply to have a response published in Hansard to comments made about them by a member in the House. There is a procedure known as a citizen's right of reply, which is enabled by resolution of the House. Under the resolution, applicants need to submit their complaint in writing to the Speaker, with relevant details about the comments made about them. I thought it might assist the House if I take a moment or two to clarify that the process which applies in relation to consideration of right-of-reply applications is that of the Standing Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests, rather than the Speaker. If the Speaker is satisfied that the submission meets the requirements of the resolution, the Speaker refers the request to the Standing Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests for consideration. The committee, in turn, may make certain recommendations to the House for its consideration and decision. The committee has proposed as a guideline that the category of persons from whom applications should be considered is of natural persons, although affirming that each application would be considered on its merits.
For the information of all honourable members, I remind them that there is information about the citizen's right of reply procedure on the website of the Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests and on the website of the House of Representatives, and there's an info sheet which goes into some detail about the arrangement. I thought it might assist members if I just outlined this in some detail, so that they can refer back to it in Hansard.