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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1292 ..


MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move a motion in relation to a debate over the Kingston-Acton land swap which was held yesterday and, furthermore, in relation to letters which were discussed in the course of that debate.

Leave not granted.

Suspension of Standing Orders

MR BERRY (3.29): Mr Speaker, I move:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent Mr Berry from moving a motion in relation to the Kingston/Acton land swap and in particular letters referred to yesterday by Mrs Carnell (Chief Minister).

Mr Speaker, I have sought to suspend standing orders on this matter because it has become an issue so serious as to warrant further disclosure. Yesterday we called on the Chief Minister to provide letters which had changed hands - with the Commonwealth, one presumes - last year. Mrs Carnell made a point of saying:

I do not believe that that is an appropriate approach, Mr Speaker. Once you get to a stage in question time where you want correspondence and discussions that happen at an intergovernment level on statements that may or may not have been made, when we do not have Hansard in front of us, it is simply ridiculous.

Now, Mr Speaker, we do have Hansard in front of us, and it is very clear that Mrs Carnell referred to letters that changed hands. I seek to move a motion to require Mrs Carnell to provide those letters.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (3.31): Mr Speaker, the issue here, once again, is not so much whether or not letters ought to be tabled as whether motions of this kind should be moved from the floor without notice when notice could easily have been provided. I can well recall Mr Berry being extremely indignant - in fact, refusing leave - on previous occasions when motions have been moved, papers have been presented or leave has been sought to make ministerial statements in circumstances when notice had not been given. Mr Berry raised this issue yesterday. It would have been perfectly easy for him to have indicated to Mrs Carnell today, either in a question or otherwise, "I require this information in a certain form".

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