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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2075..


MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, as usual - - -

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, I draw your attention to standing order 114. My question was directed to the Minister responsible for the introduction of the Trading Hours Bill. If he does not want to answer it, Mr Speaker, he should decline.

Ms Follett: Or take it on notice.

Mr Berry: Or take it on notice.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I have been designated as the Minister in the Government responsible for handling these questions.

Mr Wood: When was that, Mr Humphries?

MR HUMPHRIES: From six months ago.

MR SPEAKER: Order! House of Representatives Practice states at page 513 under the heading, "Direction of Questions":

A Minister may refuse to answer a question. He or she may also transfer a question to another Minister and it is not in order to question the reason for doing so.

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, I suggest to you that those standing orders which you refer to relate to the house on the hill. The standing orders here are quite specific and leave no room for movement. Standing order 114 states:

Questions may be put to a Minister relating to public affairs with which that Minister is officially connected, to proceedings pending in the Assembly or to any matter of administration for which that Minister is responsible.

If I had wanted to ask Mr Humphries a question, I would have so directed it, Mr Speaker. I did not. I wished to ask my question of Mr De Domenico. If he is not competent to answer it, he should take it on notice. If he does not want to answer it, he should refuse.

Mrs Carnell: Mr Speaker, I have made it very clear that, officially, Mr Humphries is in a position to take these questions.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Chief Minister. On the point of order you have taken in relation to our standing order 114, Mr Berry, there is nothing in House of Representatives Practice I have just quoted that is inconsistent with standing order 114. Standing order 114, as you quoted, states:

Questions may be put to a Minister relating to public affairs with which that Minister is officially connected, to proceedings pending in the Assembly or to any matter of administration for which that Minister is responsible.


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