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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1242 ..

Questions may be put to a Minister relating to public affairs with which that Minister is officially connected, to proceedings pending in the Assembly or to any matter of administration for which that Minister is responsible.

Mr Smyth referred to an ABC website report that Labor had appointed Ms Gallagher as the party’s liaison person with the Greens. This is clearly a party matter. Although Ms Gallagher is connected with the agreement, as the ALP’s liaison point, I do not believe that this meets the requirement of being officially connected in the sense of having ministerial responsibility.

Finally, on the question of the same question on the notice paper, I ruled a question from Mr Doszpot out of order as it was the same one as appeared on the notice paper. Again, House of Representatives Practice, at page 547, comments:

It has been the general practice of the House that questions without notice which are substantially the same as questions already on the Notice Paper are not permissible.

In 1986, the house’s procedure committee considered the issue of whether the member whose question was on the notice paper could ask that question during question time. The committee’s recommendation was that the previous practice should continue. This practice has been consistently followed in the Assembly, and my predecessor has upheld points of order taken by both Mr Smyth and Mrs Dunne on precisely this issue.

On the general issue of the Assembly’s practices and procedures, all members are free to raise suggestions and changes with their representatives on the administration and procedure committee. I believe that this is the most appropriate forum for discussions of this nature. I do believe that my role as the Speaker is to interpret and implement the rules as they currently stand. On that basis, until I am directed otherwise, I believe I am bound to apply past practice and resort to standing order 275 whenever our standing orders and practices are silent.

Dissent from ruling

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (2.03), by leave: I move:

That the Speaker’s ruling be dissented from.

Mr Speaker, this is an important issue; it is not a light-hearted matter. I thank the Speaker for providing a draft copy of his ruling earlier this morning, which has given me time to consider this matter.

To go to what you say in your ruling I think is to come down to a decision on the word “agreement” or “arrangements”. What we have in this place is a formal parliamentary agreement between the Australian Labor Party and the Greens. It was presented to this parliament. It was presented with some cost implications. And we have a Treasurer who is responsible to fund those cost implications. We also have a Treasurer who, in her role as Deputy Chief Minister, is actually a signatory to this document. On all of those grounds, it is more than appropriate to ask the Treasurer

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