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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1964..

MR SESELJA: We are not having a debate. We would be prepared to give Ms Burch leave to now answer the questions that she refused to answer when she impugned Mrs Dunne's character.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Burch is not seeking leave so I guess it cannot be offered.

Standing and temporary orders—suspension

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.10): I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Ms Burch (Minister for the Arts) from answering questions which she did not answer during question time.

Mr Speaker, I move for the suspension so much of standing orders as would allow Minister Burch to answer the questions that she refused to answer in question time on the basis that she would rather impugn my honesty. I move that standing orders be suspended so as to allow Minister Burch to answer the questions that she did not answer in question time.

When we are discussing the administration of finances in the ACT and the live question of public art, it is within the rights of members in this place to ask questions about the assertions made by the minister. The minister claims that she quoted somebody else, but she quoted them as an endorsement of her policy. Part of what she said and what she quoted was that public art increased property values. Instead of addressing this question during question time, Minister Burch sought to deflect from this issue by impugning my honesty—about whether or not it was actually said in answer to Mr Seselja's question.

It has now been shown that the minister was the one who was in the wrong. In answer to Mr Seselja's question, she clearly says, by quoting the reference to somebody else, that she believes that public art increases property values. Our questions today were about what research was done in relation to this. The minister has steadfastly refused to answer the question.

Now that the record has been set straight about what she actually said on 29 March, it is appropriate that the minister should answer the questions. That is why we should suspend standing orders—so as to get the answers that we should have received during question time. The minister has a great capacity for trying to deflect from the real facts. We have seen this in just about every part of her portfolio. Here in the area of public art, she made an assertion that there was real economic benefit to the people of the ACT through increased property values.

That raises a whole range of questions. It raises questions about the basis for her saying this. If the basis for her saying this is just that she was quoting somebody else, she needs to say that. If there is further research that she can point to, she needs to point to it. She also needs to assure the people of the ACT that if, through the installation of public art, property values go up, we will not see an increase in rates.

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