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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 November 2010) . . Page.. 5422 ..

There has been an informal agreement in this place that members are entitled to read from briefs or speaking notes without having to table those notes. Where a member reads from, say, a letter or a document, that is another matter. Members would certainly expect to have to table that document if they use it on the floor of the House.

Having reflected on this, I believe that the standing order quite rightly places no restriction on what constitutes a document. It should be open to the Assembly, on a case-by-case basis, to insist that a document quoted from be tabled so that others may judge the veracity of the claims made during the member’s speech. However, that decision should be an informed one and, in reaching its decision, the Assembly should take into account the nature of the document and any arguments put forward for not tabling. It does rest upon the member being asked to table the document to make a clear case why the document should not be tabled if that is that member’s position so that the Assembly can vote in an informed way on the motion. The member should be explicit about the exact nature of the document.

I accept Mr Corbell’s concern and past convention and agree that the standing order generally should apply to a class of documents that are public or official in nature, rather than private speech notes and briefing papers. My intervention on 28 October was solely based on the fact that Ms Burch had evidently not tabled the complete document, contrary to the will of the Assembly. As its stands, the standing order does not give the chair any discretion or guidance once a member moves for the tabling of a document. The decision on whether or not the motion to table is agreed to is a vote of the Assembly. Should members wish to revisit this standing order, the appropriate forum would be the Administration and Procedure Committee.

This discussion has also caused some members to ask what happens in the event a member is ordered to table a document, and that member was in fact reading that document from a laptop computer. My view is that the practical and commonsense response should simply be that, where a member is so ordered, that member should, in a timely manner, arrange for the document or web page to be printed, then return to the chamber and table the print-out as soon as reasonably practicable.

Questions without notice

Planning—answers to questions on notice

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Minister, I refer to question on notice No 551. This question asked a range of budget-related questions that arose during estimates committee this year. In answer to this question, minister, you wrote: “The answers to these questions have been provided in QON 693 and QON 647.”

Question on notice 647 provides part of an answer for one of the points in the question from a previous year, but many others are unanswered and no current details are supplied. Question on notice 693 states:

The Government is not prepared to invest the significant time required to address such questions as it would be too resource intensive and time consuming.

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