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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (18 April) . . Page.. 1079..


Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, on that point of order: With great respect to Mr Berry, standing order 118 does not say or mean that questions must be answered in a particular way, except to the extent that answers must be concise, be confined to the subject matter and not debate the subject to which the question refers. I believe that previous Speakers have ruled that there is no requirement for a Minister to answer a question. Ministers in this Government always try to answer questions if they can, but there is certainly no requirement in standing order 118 to do so. I suggest, with respect, that Mr Berry's points of order are out of order.

MR SPEAKER: I would have to uphold that. Standing order 118 simply states:

The answer to a question without notice:

(a) shall be concise and confined to the subject matter of the question; and

(b) shall not debate the subject to which the question refers ...

The Chief Minister to date, in responding to this supplementary question, has not breached either of those two parts of standing order 118. Continue, Chief Minister.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, $8m obviously has been underspent because we have not spent that money in getting rid of some of the older buildings on Acton Peninsula. That is fairly obvious to anybody. At this stage of the financial year we are projecting, on current predictions, that there will be underspending in a number of other programs. In the area of redundancies, as I have said in this place already, at this stage the drawings on the central redundancy pool have been only $2m. We expect that to go up substantially, but we do not expect it to reach anywhere near the $12m that was set aside in the budget for redundancies.

It does not take a genius to realise that under those circumstances, and those alone, there is a capacity within the current budget, if current projections are met, to fund the $14.2m from within current provisions. It does not take a genius to work that out. What we will not be doing is using Executive power, as Ms Follett did, to up the Treasurer's Advance to cover it. That was one of the things that we got rid of in my Financial Management Bill this morning. I was horrified that it was possible - - -

Mr Berry: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I will read the supplementary question to you again. What non-health programs, what outputs, are you going to cut or reduce funding to in order to pay for your incompetence as Health Minister? We did not ask her what she is not going to do.

MRS CARNELL: I think I have answered that question very adequately, thank you.

MR SPEAKER: You may sit down, yes.


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