Canberra Liberals MLA James Milligan has referred himself to the Legislative Assembly's Commissioner of Standards over an email sent to constituents following last year's election.
In the email, Mr Milligan, who lost his seat at the 2020 election, had reportedly promoted his publishing business in a farewell letter to constituents.
But Mr Milligan was re-elected to the assembly in March following the resignation of former opposition leader Alistair Coe. The email was unearthed following his re-election by an ABC report.
The Yerrabi MLA referred himself to the standards commissioner after the assembly's speaker Joy Burch sought to move a motion that called on Mr Milligan to make a statement to the ACT parliament detailing how many emails had been sent and where and how he obtained the email addresses.
The motion then called for the assembly to consider whether the matter should be referred to the commissioner.
But by the time Ms Burch had brought the motion to the floor, Mr Milligan had already referred himself.
Mr Milligan did not address the motion on Thursday, as opposition whip Jeremy Hanson said he did not want to prejudice the independent referral.
Mr Hanson was scathing that the motion went ahead after Mr Milligan had referred himself. He called it a "highly partisan, inappropriate witch hunt".
"I'm very disappointed this motion is being brought before this place," he said.
Ms Burch was originally set to put forward the motion on Thursday morning but asked for debate to be deferred until the afternoon.
"Given matters raised in the motion have been raised by the commissioner it may be inappropriate for the subject to be debated by members," she said.
"And I did give a commitment to consider whether to bring this motion on or not ... [but] I believe it is appropriate to bring on members when considering this matter."
Ms Burch subsequently brought the motion to the floor on Thursday afternoon, saying there were questions that needed to be answered.
When the motion that called on Mr Milligan to make a statement to the assembly passed, there was confusion as to whether he needed to do so, with the opposition citing Mr Hanson's comments.
The Canberra Times understands Mr Milligan has answered the questions in writing.
Deputy speaker Michael Pettersson adjourned the assembly for 10 minutes. Upon return, a second motion was passed that noted Mr Milligan's self-referral.
It also acknowledged while Mr Milligan was not a member when the email had been sent he had subsequently been re-elected and the Commissioner for Standards needed to ascertain whether Mr Milligan's actions breached the code of conduct for members.
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