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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 May 1993) . . Page.. 1562 ..


Motion (by Mr Berry) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Answers to Questions Without Notice

MR STEVENSON (9.57): At question time I asked Mr Berry a question that I gave him notice of. It concerned staff appointments. He did not answer that question, despite having had notice of it for two months. Before the sitting I gave notice to Mr Berry's office that I would be asking the question. When I finally asked the question Mr Berry popped up and said, "Well, fancy that! Fancy asking a question that I have already tabled the answer to". The reason that I give notice - - -

Mr Berry: I know why you do it.

MR STEVENSON: Why do I do it?

Mr Berry: I will explain later.

MR STEVENSON: He knows, but he is not prepared to tell anybody else. If he knows it will make sense, and if he says something else it will make nonsense. The reason I do it is fairly obvious. It is to give the Ministers time to get a reasonable answer to the question, so that there will be no need to make statements irrelevant to the question because they are not sure of the answer. I have done this for some considerable time. I do not do it in every case. There is the occasional case, such as the question I asked Mr Connolly the other day concerning a declaration, when I do not do it. The reason I did not do it on that occasion was that I knew that the Federal Government had already approved of the declaration. When I asked the Minister, he said that he did not know anything about it. I had guessed that that was what he would say.

The ACT is supposed to be consulted. If the ACT is supposed to be consulted, why are we not consulted in this Assembly? The suggestion that the matter is not important is nonsense. They carry weight behind them. Nevertheless, Mr Berry is not prepared to talk about the reason that I give notice of my questions without notice. I do it so that we all win, so that the questions will be answered some time in this part of the year, instead of some time later on in the year or next year.

MADAM SPEAKER: Order! It being 10.00 pm, in accordance with amended standing order 34, the debate is interrupted.

Motion (by Mr Berry) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent the adjournment debate continuing until its completion.

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