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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (16 September) . .

Page.. 3088..


MS LAWDER: Minister, did the request for a quote include information about the intended use of the structure?

MS BURCH: I am not aware of any instructions from the principal for putting this structure into place. As I have said since this has come to my attention, this structure had no place in our school. So any thinking that the directorate or anybody had anything to do with this outside the principal is simply—

Mr Hanson: On a point of order—

MADAM SPEAKER: A point of order; can you stop the clock?

Mr Hanson: The question is very clear—

Opposition members interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Order! I would like to hear the point of order.

Mr Hanson: and it relates to whether the quote itself contained information about the intended use of a structure. If the minister does not have that quote available or that information available, maybe she could seek it. But it is a very clear question as to whether the quote itself had the intended use of the structure in the detail of the quote. It is a simple question.

MADAM SPEAKER: That is basically what my notes say the question was about. I will, again, remind the minister that, under standing order 118(a), she is required to be concise and directly relevant. As the Speaker, I may direct the member to terminate the answer if, in my opinion, the provisions of the standing orders are being breached.

Mr Corbell: On that point of order, on your ruling, Madam Speaker—just to seek your clarification—will it be your practice to warn a minister only once before sitting them down? The reason I ask is that members on the other side are repeatedly warned without consequence in relation to their conduct during question time, but when it comes to a minister, it would appear that one warning is sufficient. I just want to understand what the rules of the game are going to be, Madam Speaker. Are you going to act arbitrarily or are you going to allow a minister, who has two minutes, to elaborate on her answer and to seek to address it in what is a contested and difficult matter?

MADAM SPEAKER: I made the ruling on the last occasion and asked Minister Burch to sit down because she had been asked to be directly relevant to the question. The standing orders do not say that I have to give people three warnings or not. It was quite clear that the minister was not going to come to the question, which was: when did the school first plan for the structure? Again, that was the previous answer.

On this occasion the question was: did the quote for the purchase of the structure have anything in it that related to what the structure was going to be used for? The minister has had some time to answer the question. On this occasion I was drawing to the


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