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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1248 ..


That is what you said, Mr Speaker. You did not block attempts by the Liberal Party to ask questions about the implementation of particular issues. You simply indicated that there is nowhere in the administrative orders and there is nowhere in terms of ministers’ responsibility in this place for a capacity for questions about the parliamentary agreement between the Labor and Greens parties because they are no decision of the government; they are not something that has been entered into between the government and the Greens. They are not an agreement between the territory, as a body politic, and the ACT Greens; they are an agreement between the Australian Labor Party, ACT branch, parliamentary party, and the ACT Greens. They are no decisions of the government.

What is most telling about the Liberal Party’s objections is that, when you look at the point of order that Mr Seselja took when Mr Hargreaves loosely took a point of order last week, Mr Seselja said:

Mr Speaker, as it relates to small business and answers to questions on notice, it absolutely does.

That is, it absolutely is within order and relevant for the minister to answer. And you agreed with him, Mr Speaker. You agreed with Mr Seselja that, insofar as it relates to small business and answers to questions on notice, it was entirely in order. Your ruling today is consistent with your ruling last week. And that is simply that you cannot ask questions about a political agreement between two political parties in this place but you can ask ministers about the administration of their portfolios and the implementation of election commitments in relation to those portfolios. That is entirely legitimate and that is what you have ruled, Mr Speaker.

Mr Smyth interjected last week:

The Treasurer is the minister responsible for liaison.

That was in relation to the Greens’ parliamentary agreement. I draw Mr Smyth’s attention to the AAOs. Nowhere is there anything anywhere that Ms Gallagher is the responsible minister for parliamentary liaison with the Greens. For Mr Smyth to assert that, in some way, the Treasurer is the minister responsible for liaison—no, she has no responsibility under the administrative arrangements in relation to liaison with the ACT Greens. It is not a function that she performs as a minister. It is a function she performs as a representative of the Australian Labor Party, in the same way as it is a function Ms Hunter performs as a representative of the ACT Greens.

What the Liberal Party fail to understand is the distinction between the political relationships that exist in this place and the relationships between the territory as a body politic, its ministers established under that body politic and their responsibilities to this place. You have quite rightly, Mr Speaker, drawn that distinction. It is an entirely appropriate distinction for you to draw and that is why your ruling is correct. What those opposite fail to grasp is the distinction between the political relationships in this place and the responsibilities of ministers established under the territory as a body political. You have drawn that distinction and you are right to do so.


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