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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 24 August 1995) . . Page.. 1421 ..


Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, the Minister, if he is going to refuse to answer the question, should just refuse to answer it. Rather than try to dig up excuses, he should just refuse. If he does not want to answer the question about improper ministerial interference in due process, he can say, “I will not answer it”.

MR SPEAKER: I am not aware, Mr Berry, that the Minister is refusing to answer. As far as I am aware, he is answering it quite competently at the moment within the bounds of question time.

Mr Kaine: Mr Speaker, I would like to take a point of order, too. If the member opposite continues to harangue you as Speaker, I suggest that you ask him to leave the chamber.

MR SPEAKER: I shall bear it in mind, Mr Kaine. Continue, Mr Stefaniak.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Lamont said:

The question raises matters of principle in relation to the operation of the Privacy Act 1988 which was enacted for the purposes of protecting the rights of members of the community to personal privacy.

One of the purposes of the privacy legislation is to prevent - - -

Mr Connolly: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister's answer is referring to privacy, and he is specifically referring there to not divulging personal information. The Leader of the Opposition's question most specifically asked for the letter with personal identifier details deleted. I therefore ask you: How can this answer relating to personal information privacy be relevant to a question which sought the tabling of a document going to policy, with personal identifier information specifically excluded?

MR STEFANIAK: I will quote the last paragraph of Mr Lamont's reply, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: I will await Mr Stefaniak's complete answer. I do not know where he is leading to on this very point.

MR STEFANIAK: Thank you. In relation to Mr Connolly's point of order, Mr Speaker, Mr Lamont said:

Although your question does not seek the name of the former tenant of -

I will not read the address, but it is in here -

... the person's identity would undoubtedly be apparent to some people, particularly neighbouring residents who may have known the tenant. Given that the answers to Questions on Notice are published in Hansard and are therefore available to the general public, it is not considered appropriate to provide the information you sought.


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