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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 March 2010) . . Page.. 1371 ..


between those questions not being ruled out of order and the ruling that was made last week. I note that no point of order was raised in regard to those earlier questions, and no rulings were made at the time. On reflection, under the current standing orders, some of those questions would have been ruled out of order had a point of order been raised.

I would like to summarise my understanding of how the standing orders and practices of this place should be applied in such circumstances.

Firstly, questions cannot be addressed to ministers about matters for which they have no ministerial responsibility. I believe that was clear in my ruling made last week.

Secondly, questions that substantively address the nature of an arrangement between parties would be out of order. This is consistent with established parliamentary practice and through which the Assembly is bound by standing order 275.

For example, the following question asked by Mr Coe, on 27 August 2009, could have been ruled out of order:

Is that statement representative of the integrity of the Greens-Labor agreement? If so, why? If not, why not?

Thirdly, I would like to clarify that where the question is in regard to an item within the agreement for which a minister has responsibility for the implementation of that policy, but which makes passing reference to the policy being in the ALP-Greens agreement, the question would be in order. Mr Coe’s question on 2 April 2009 demonstrates this. Mr Coe said:

My question is to the Treasurer, and it relates to the Greens-Labor agreement. Treasurer, one of the agreed policy points of the agreement is to:

Adopt a goal of 10 per cent public housing stock.

Treasurer, has your department provided you with advice as to the cost of this policy and, if so, will you table that advice?

Clearly the Treasurer was being asked about actions taken by her department and accordingly was in order.

My ruling last week was made in response to a point of order raised by Mr Hargreaves, as to whether the ALP-Greens agreement fell within the portfolio of any minister, which it does not.

However, as has been stated previously, and as I ruled on the day, the substantive matter raised in Mr Seselja’s question was in order, and was able to be asked of the Treasurer inasmuch as it related to her responsibility for invoices for small business. I acknowledge that inasmuch as Mr Seselja’s question only made passing reference to the ALP-Greens agreement, the opening statement of the question was in order.

However, I ruled part of the question out of order as it requested information about the status of the agreement. As members are aware, I invited Mr Seselja to put the


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