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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3221..


MR STANHOPE: I have not read the Telegraph or the Herald Sun. I confess that these are not papers I read. I read a quality news sheet, the Canberra Times. I do not wish to-

MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister, I am going to insist on this. I think the question called for a legal opinion, and I am going to rule it out of order.

Mr Smyth: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Standing order 114 says that questions may be put to a minister on any matter of administration for which that minister is responsible. Mr Stanhope is responsible for administering the law of the land. Mr Pratt is not asking for an opinion; he is asking which laws exist. Is there a law? It is quite clear.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt asked whether there were any laws which would deal with the issue he raised. That is calling for a legal opinion. I have disallowed the question.

Mr Pratt: Mr Speaker, can I ask him to take the question on notice? Would you like to take it on notice, Chief Minister?

Mr Stanhope: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I could not have answered the question other than to say I would have to seek legal advice from my department. The Speaker was quite correct. I support the ruling the Speaker made. You raised an interesting question, a question of some moment, but I could not answer it. I could say we have the Crimes Act and the Crimes Act contains a number of provisions. You asked whether or not there is a law that does this or that. I would have had to seek a legal opinion on it.

Mr Stefaniak: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I do not think it seeks a legal opinion. "Is there an ACT law that covers it?" is just like "Is there any information in the Department of Urban Services relating to how many roads were built in 1998?" It is asking for information from the relevant agency, the justice department.

MR SPEAKER: What if it had gone to an issue of common law or some other law? It called on the Attorney-General for a legal opinion about what is contained within the law. That is specifically ruled out by the standing orders.

Mr Pratt: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Are we not asking a question about capability? It is not asking for a legal opinion. We are asking a question about the capability of the ACT to cover that contingency.

MR SPEAKER: You have asked the Attorney-General for an opinion on the law. The standing orders prevent you from asking for legal opinions.

Magpies

MR HARGREAVES: My question is for the Minister of Urban Services. In September each year magpies can be a big problem for people in Canberra, as elsewhere. While some of us are very fond of magpies, others in our community are much troubled by them. Do you have a strategy to deal with magpies?

MR WOOD: This is an important question. I do not mind admitting I have had heated discussion within my colleagues here about this subject. The first question we had to resolve was why magpies are so troublesome in Canberra in September, when in


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