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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1960..


Mr Wood: Mr Speaker, points of order are debatable. I rise to a point of order because I know what my speech is to be about. The debate is about the Government's response. The Government's response is totally about what it intends to do. If we point out that it is not doing very much, that is entirely valid.

Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, if Mr Wood can show where the Government's response in any way touches on the question of smoke crossing over from New South Wales - - -

Mr Wood: You talked about better coordination, and I do not see any evidence of it.

Mr Humphries: If you can find talk about smoke crossing from New South Wales I will happily concede the point of order.

Mr Wood: It is in your response and in your tabling statement.

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, may I direct your attention to pages 28 and 29 of the report, which in fact deal with the issue of smoke and its effects in the ACT. It is relevant to the debate to address this issue and what has occurred since. If the Government is a bit anxious about its performance and wishes to gag debate, that is not a proper use of the standing orders. This is about consideration of the Government's response - - -

MR SPEAKER: To a 1994 report.

MR BERRY: Indeed, and elements of hypocrisy in that response, bearing in mind the Government's performance since the report was tabled. It is entirely appropriate that the community should hear about the Government's response in the context of the debate about this report. Mr Humphries is very nervous. He has good reason to be, and he has good reason to use every tactic possible to try to divert attention from this issue; but he will not get away with it.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Berry, I suggest that if you wish to continue to debate the matter you can do so in a general sense. You do not have to make reference to something that clearly happened after that report came down and is not germane to this debate. We could, I suppose, debate the fact that it rained heavily last Sunday and ask what the Government did about that. It is not relevant.

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, I also draw your attention to the Minister's tabling statement. Mr Humphries said:

In addition, a number of recommendations derive from the overview chapter at the front of the report of the Commissioner for the Environment. The Government response to the report is directed at the long-term protection of the environment.

We are talking about the future and the Government's actions in relation to the environment. We should not be blocked on a misuse of the standing orders by Mr Humphries.


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