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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 May 1995) . . Page.. 309 ..


MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. I have in mind that Mrs Carnell last Thursday in the Assembly had to make a personal explanation about the status of those negotiations. I again draw her attention to Mr Humphries’s statement last Thursday - not today, not since we have received the Prime Minister's letter, but last Thursday - when he said:

We have entered into that contract and we are bound to the consequences of that contract.

By tabling the Prime Minister's letter today, does Mrs Carnell concede that Mr Humphries misrepresented the legal situation? If not, will she table the legal advice she had at that time, and, if she has no legal advice, will she now seek it?

MRS CARNELL: I entered into an agreement in good faith.

Ms Follett: No, Mr Humphries; a different question.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Humphries was talking about an agreement I entered into. As Chief Minister of this Territory, I entered into negotiations with the Prime Minister of this country. We reached an agreement. I trust him. He trusts me. On that basis, there is an agreement. The previous Chief Minister knows perfectly well - - -

Ms Follett: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The terms used by Mr Humphries were “contract” and “the consequences of that contract”. I would ask Mrs Carnell to address the question.

Mr Kaine: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: I believe that the Chief Minister has already answered the question and the Opposition is merely flogging a dead horse.

MR SPEAKER: I must admit that I find it very difficult, Leader of the Opposition, to understand what you are driving at in terms of your supplementary question. I was of the opinion that the Chief Minister had fully answered the question. If you have anything to add, Chief Minister, that will assist the house, please do so.

Mr Berry: On a point of order: The Leader of the Opposition asked the question. I know, Mr Speaker, that you have said that Ministers can answer them how they like. Perhaps you might grant the same leeway to the Opposition as well, to ask them how they like.

MR SPEAKER: I cannot do that, Mr Berry, as you know. The Leader of the Opposition has asked a question, as she is entitled to do. How the Chief Minister chooses to answer that question, as you know, is entirely up to her. If the Chief Minister can throw any more light on the matter for the house's benefit, I invite her to do so.

MRS CARNELL: The Oxford Dictionary might shed more light on this. The Oxford Dictionary defines a contract as an agreement.


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