Letter to the Chairman of the Committee
on Standards and Privileges, from Ms Maria Fernandes
I enclose a copy of a letter that I have sent to
the Parliamentary Commissioner following recent correspondence.
I have given her all the information that I have
concerning matters she has raised with me.
You will see from the correspondence that I have
objected to questions being asked about my professional and personal
I have seen no rule and I have been offered no information
or explanation as to why the spouse of a Member of Parliament
conducting his or her own private or professional activities should
be the subject of questioning. Indeed the Commissioner herself
has said repeatedly that she does not wish to interfere in my
affairs, yet continues to ask questions about those very same
Added to this I have explained to the Parliamentary
Commissioner that as a result of newspaper articles I have begun
legal proceedings. She has said that she does not wish to jeopardise
these proceedings but is requesting information that will ultimately
have that effect.
I wish to seek your reassurance that there will be
no publication of information concerning either myself or my clients
which would in any way compromise my professional duty. I would
be happy to discuss this or any matter with you or the Committee
in private if you so wish.
May I also say that I have found the conduct of this
investigation quite bizarre. There appears to be no defined procedure
and if one quotes the Ninth Report of the Committee to the Commissioner
as I have done she does not acknowledge that it should be adhered
Citizens called upon by Parliament to assist with
information have a right to know why they are being questioned.
Finally [the Clerk] has a letter that I sent you
following the publication in a national newspaper of confidential
correspondence between the Committee and myself. [The Clerk] informed
me that he thought that a member of the Committee had passed that
information to the newspaper. I look forward to receiving your
response on this.
Thank you for taking the trouble to read this letter.
13 October 2001