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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 4 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1109..


MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Mr Gentleman, as chair of the planning, environment and territory and municipal services committee, are you concerned that a breach of privilege may have occurred?

Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Madam Speaker, the question is asking for an expression of opinion.

MADAM SPEAKER: Sorry, can you—

MR WALL: Madam Speaker, standing order 117(c) says:

... questions shall not ask Ministers ... for an expression of opinion ...

There is no mention in the standing orders of whether or not it is out of order to request an opinion of another member.

MADAM SPEAKER: I'm afraid he is right.

Mr Corbell: On the point of order, Madam Speaker, the standing orders are silent in this regard because it is not common—

MADAM SPEAKER: I will allow the question.

Mr Corbell: If I can finish my comments, Madam Speaker—

MADAM SPEAKER: I am sorry; I thought you had. I do apologise.

Mr Corbell: No, I have not, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, the standing orders are silent on this matter, but clearly they are silent because it is the expectation of the drafters of the standing orders—that is, this place and its predecessor Assemblies—that question time is for the purposes of asking questions predominantly of ministers, of the executive. I would put to you, Madam Speaker, that if it is inappropriate to ask a minister for an expression of an opinion and it is prohibited under the standing orders, as it explicitly is, the same prohibition should be in place in relation to other people who are asked questions during question time. Otherwise there would be an obvious, and without any rationale, complete inconsistency.

MADAM SPEAKER: I agree with you, Mr Corbell, that there is an inconsistency if you read the standing orders. On the basis that the standing orders in relation to expressions of opinion relate specifically to ministers, I will allow the question. Would you like to repeat the question, Mr Wall; I have forgotten what it is, and I do not know that Mr Gentleman will remember what it is.

MR WALL: Madam Speaker, the question was to Mr Gentleman as chair of the planning, environment and territory and municipal services committee. Are you concerned that a breach of privilege may have occurred?


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