Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1272 ..
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (3.36): I too will speak briefly. In my nine years in this place I have seen some excellent examples of bad acting or overacting. I have to say that the entire frontbench of the opposition today should be charged with overacting.
Mr Coe: I have heard some superbly bad speeches from you.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Coe; you are very close.
MS GALLAGHER: The one thing that this opposition are good at, I have to say, is trying to make nothing into something. I presume we will hear more along these lines as we near 2012. But they are trying to turn nothing into something.
There may be an issue if a question had been ruled out of order or was not answered. That was not the case. We have heard from the opposition today that it is the end of democracy as we know it in the ACT; that the opposition is gagged; that there has been this terrible blight on the role of scrutiny of this Assembly because of your ruling, Mr Speaker—a ruling which saw a question asked and saw a question answered. That is what occurred.
I have no idea why the opposition have got themselves so wound up about this. They asked a question. The question was answered. The question was asked. The question was answered. In the past, questions have been asked around the parliamentary agreement, particularly on portfolio areas, and those questions have been answered.
There is no attack on democracy. Mr Speaker’s ruling is appropriate. I am not the minster for the parliamentary agreement. I am the Treasurer. Therefore, if you ask me questions that relate to the Treasury portfolio, which may also encompass elements of the parliamentary agreement, I am able to answer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your ruling, Mr Speaker. It is entirely appropriate. You boys over there need to look at how you ask your questions. If they are asked in an appropriate way, they will be answered in an appropriate way.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (3.39), in reply: Mr Speaker, it would seem that those opposite and on the crossbench are somewhat confused about the purpose of this motion because none of them have been able to put a case to actually debunk the list of points I made or that any of the other speakers from the Liberal Party have made today. We have had conflicting views now from the government as to what this document is. It is a policy document; it is a party document; it is a parliamentary agreement. Well, which one is it? When it is brought into this place and it is put before this Assembly and we are told that it is a parliamentary agreement that will guide how the Assembly will operate for the next four years, then I am concerned about that document and I should have the right to ask questions about it.
If we go back to what you said, Mr Speaker, last week, you simply said, “You cannot ask about the Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement.” When somebody tells me in this place what I cannot do, when that is a divergence from what has occurred in the past, when it is the guiding document that details what will happen in this Assembly for the next four years, then I get very concerned about the reason for that.