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Brash: 20 July Letter Regarding Taito Philip Field

Further Letter To Speaker Regarding Taito Philip Field From Dr Brash

20 July 2006

Hon Margaret Wilson
House of Representatives
Parliament House

Dear Madam Speaker

Further to my letter dated 19 July I wish to outline additional arguments I believe would be helpful in determining whether or not to refer to the Privileges Committee the matters involving Taito Phillip Field raised in the report of Dr Noel Ingram QC, The Report to the Prime Minister Upon Inquiry Into Matters Relating to Taito Phillip Field (the report).

It is my belief that the issues raised by the report and outlined in my previous letter constituted a contempt of the House pursuant to Standing Order 399. I believe Mr Field’s conduct will have the tendency to impede the conduct of the house by bringing the House into disrepute.

In particular, I refer to issue of Mr Field’s presence at a meeting that may have been held in order to establish who had leaked material regarding the work done on Mr Field’s houses. I have provided the relevant parts of the report in my previous letter – see paragraphs [504] to [507]. It is of concern that this meeting took place after the Prime Minister had established the inquiry into Mr Field’s activities on September 20 2005, and it is also concerning that five of the people allegedly present at that meeting subsequently refused to be interviewed by Dr Ingram.

The perception that a member of this House may have applied pressure on potential witnesses in an inquiry into his activities clearly, in my view, requires the attention of the Privileges Committee.

I also believe Standing Order 399 was breached by the perception and/or reality that Mr Field may have gained a pecuniary interest from his position as an Member through cheap work carried out on his properties. Dr Ingram suggests this work was provided out of a sense of gratitude for the immigration assistance supplied by Mr Field, acting as a Member of Parliament. These concerns raised by Dr Ingram were outlined in my previous letter, in particular his statements in paragraphs [493], [498] and [501].

This is an extremely serious matter, as any perception that Members may be able to gain favourable consideration for constituents in return for gifts or favours has the potential to adversely affect the ability of the House to conduct its functions in an atmosphere of honesty and fairness.

I also believe referral of this case to the Privileges Committee is necessary in light of the comments of Dr Ingram suggesting that he lacked the necessary powers to be able to conclusively deal with the issues I have raised above. I included this material in my previous letter to you – please see paragraphs [9], [11], [493] and [507].

Dr Ingram did not have the powers to compel witnesses he believed were necessary to gain answers in these matters. He suggests in paragraphs [493] and [507] that if these issues are to be resolved, it would be necessary for an authority with appropriate powers of investigation to inquire further. I submit to you that the Privileges Committee investigation into issues under Standing Order 399 may present just such an opportunity to clear the good name of this House.

Yours sincerely

Don Brash
Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the National Party

cc Taito Phillip Field


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