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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 October 2010) . . Page.. 4589 ..

Standing order 73

Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: I would like to make a brief statement regarding a point of order raised by Mr Smyth at the end of the last sitting period. Following question time on 23 September, Mr Smyth raised with me standing order 73, which deals with points of order. Specifically, he asked whether the action I took in asking Ms Burch whether she had anything further to add to an answer she had given in question time was an appropriate response to the point of order taken by Mr Seselja.

I think it would be helpful if I repeated Mr Seselja’s point of order. He said:

Point of order, Mr Speaker. The question was not about us. The question was about other limitations in unmodelled costs. She has not addressed it. If she cannot address it, she should just sit down rather than being irrelevant to the question.

In response, and in an attempt to seek an answer to the issue being addressed in the question, I asked Ms Burch if she had anything else to add. Standing order 73 requires the Speaker to rule on any question of order raised in a point of order. Whilst not explicitly expressed, Mr Seselja’s point of order related to standing order 118, which requires that answers to a question should be “concise and directly relevant to the subject matter of the question”.

Now, if this was a valid point of order in that context, my action in asking Ms Burch whether she had anything to add was to assist Mr Seselja in obtaining a relevant answer. However, having reviewed the recording of proceedings that day, it became clear that before there was any opportunity to deal with this matter any further Mr Hanson interjected with:

Are you going to uphold the standing orders or not, Mr Speaker?

Proceedings then descended into a debate on the propriety of his remarks.

I do not believe it would suit the dignity of the chamber to pursue this matter any further.

Questions without notice

Mortgage relief fund

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Treasurer. I refer to an article in the Canberra Times on 10 October about your failed mortgage relief scheme and your response was:

Its success should not be measured by the number of loans only … Since the launch of the scheme, there have been 2030 hits to the web page, 28 inquiries either via telephone or in personal visits to the Revenue Office, four applications and one loan provided.

Treasurer, why did you consider that website hits are as important an indicator as people assisted?

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