Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

None . . Page.. 1005 ..

MRS CARNELL: To start with the first part of the question, I do apologise. As I said earlier, no ministerial positions have changed at all. Everyone's responsibilities are as they were before yesterday. What has changed is that environment and land are in Urban Services. That is the change. They have moved to Urban Services. Planning is an independent area. Certainly, environment and land still report to Mr Humphries rather than to Mr De Domenico, and I am sorry that I may have misled the house on that one.

But they are in Urban Services, and that is the issue here. As I went on to say in the answer to the question, the issue is about service delivery and about bringing those areas into Urban Services so as to achieve a more streamlined, more service focused, more consumer focused approach to our public service. That is what this is all about. This is not about the status of departmental heads or agency heads. It is about having a structure that makes sure that we cut duplication; we focus on the consumer; we cut, wherever possible, duplication, particularly in the area of service to government, which we have moved under one department, rather than having three, as under the previous Government. So, it is not about status; it is about appropriate service delivery; it is about streamlining efficiency; it is about cutting duplication.

Ms Follett: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I heard you rule earlier that Ministers could answer a question in any way they liked. I would refer you to standing order 118, which says:

The answer to a question without notice -

and this is the answer from a Minister -

(a) shall be concise and confined to the subject matter of the question; and

(b) shall not debate the subject to which the question refers ...

I do not see anywhere in that standing order that Ministers can answer a question in any way they like. I would ask you, Mr Speaker, to exercise the same authority over the Ministers answering questions as you have exercised over the questioners.

Mr Humphries: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: I must say that I am flabbergasted to hear a suggestion from that side of the chamber, particularly from a person who sits in front of a former Speaker, that the rule that we have followed in this house for the last six years - that Ministers are able to answer questions as they like - should somehow have changed. Mr Speaker, my view on that point of order is that Ministers, if they are facing questions that are vague and unspecific and are not questions half the time, anyway, have to answer the questions as best they can on this side of the chamber.

Ms McRae: Mr Speaker, may I further address you on that point of order, since I was accused of ruling one way or another in the last Assembly. If members choose to recall the other side of the process, they will agree that I very rarely stopped any process of supplementary question, and that was the balancing process. I quite often pointed out that a supplementary question ought not to have an introduction, but I never ruled one out of order. There was always a balancing process going on. So, where there was

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .