Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2096 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Government to do that. Previous governments, including the Follett Government, did exactly the same thing and referred issues between Ministers on different bases. Euthanasia is a very good example. Where was their spokesman on health on euthanasia issues when it came to the debate? He was put to one side.
Mr Speaker, I also remind members that although Mr Wood is the shadow Minister for economic development and Ms McRae is the shadow Minister for planning, and undoubtedly there are elements of both those things in this package, it is - - -
Mr Berry: It is not relevant, Mr Speaker. He should be ordered to sit down.
MR SPEAKER: Order!
Mr Berry: He should be sat down immediately.
MR SPEAKER: No, I am sorry; I do not uphold the point of order. The point at issue here for the suspension of standing orders is the fact that some other Minister's name appears on the notice paper as having carriage of this particular legislation. Mr Humphries, I suspect, is drawing attention to other anomalies. Is that correct?
MR HUMPHRIES: That is right.
MR SPEAKER: Then it is relevant.
MR HUMPHRIES: Despite the fact that other shadow Ministers have responsibility, it is Mr Whitecross who has handled this issue almost exclusively for the Opposition in the course of this debate in the public media.
Ms Follett: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I suggest strongly to you that Mr Humphries is straying into the substance of the issue and that the motion before us is to suspend standing orders to allow that issue to be debated. I feel very strongly that Mr Humphries is attempting to forestall that entire debate in a way that other members have been prevented, quite correctly, by your rulings, from doing.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, and I would draw Mr Humphries's attention to that fact.
MR HUMPHRIES: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I oppose the suspension of standing orders because it is the Government's business how it handles those matters. If a member has carriage of a matter that member has to account to the Assembly for the handling of that matter, and I have done so on the floor of this chamber and elsewhere. Members opposite have no more entitlement to demand answers of somebody else on this subject, of Mr Hird, for example, than they have to ask anybody else that they happen to choose on this front bench. Mr Speaker, it is the Government's decision how it handles those matters. We have made our policy as a whole accountable to this Assembly. We have discussed and answered every element of our policy. We should be allowed to continue on that basis.
MR SPEAKER: Order! The time for debate has concluded.