Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1275..
Mr Kaine: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I understand that our standing orders allow questions to be asked of a committee chairman in connection with a matter that is before that committee. I know of no such reference to the Planning Committee as this one. I ask you to rule on whether it is a legitimate question. He is not speaking for anybody but himself. He is certainly not speaking for me as a member of that committee.
MR MOORE: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: The Planning and Environment Committee was responsible for capital works. The report is currently before the Assembly. We are still waiting for the response from the Government. The matter is on the notice paper, and I have responsibility for the carriage of that.
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, may I join the debate on the point of order. Standing order 116 is pretty clear. It states:
Questions may be put to a Member, not being a Minister, relating to any bill, motion, or other public matter connected with the business of the Assembly, of which the Member has charge.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Berry, I was about to quote the same standing order. Standing order 116 relates to questions to other members. Let me read it again:
Questions may be put to a Member, not being a Minister, relating to any bill, motion, or other public matter connected with the business of the Assembly -
that is a very broad interpretation; perhaps deliberately so -
of which the Member has charge.
It seems to me that, if you are the chairman of a committee that is looking, or has looked, at something, it comes under the term "of which the Member has charge". We are, therefore, looking at the question of a "public matter connected with the business of the Assembly". It clearly falls into that category, it would seem to me.
Mr Kaine: But he does not have charge of it. In what connection does he have charge of public works?
Mrs Carnell: Mr Speaker, in the notice paper, quite categorically, under the Planning and Environment Committee, the current inquiries are listed. I do not see any reference to capital works in the current inquiries.
Mr Berry: A further matter which may be of help, Mr Speaker, is that standing order 118, which deals with answers to questions without notice, says that they "shall be concise and confined to the subject matter of the question". Mr Moore is adhering to that standing order without failure in the answer to this question. That is something for which the Government could never claim any credit. I think that the standing orders are clear, and Mr Moore ought to be allowed to answer the question.