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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 12 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3745 ..

Mr Humphries (continuing):

what supposedly happened in the Estimates Committee with another Minister cannot possibly be relevant to why I need to take on notice a question about why a question which I have already answered was not answered within the 30-day period required under standing orders. Therefore, these matters cannot be relevant.

Mr Whitecross: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Mr Humphries is debating the motion.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

MS HORODNY (3.52), in reply: I think this is an issue about attitude, Mr Humphries, because it is the second time that I have been fobbed off in that way. I asked you many months ago why you did not provide an explanation within 30 days and the ruling was that, if you provided the answer before I had the chance to ask for an explanation, then my question was out of order. Seeking further details about that, we had a ruling from the Speaker that the question that I had asked was totally in order and that you had misrepresented the standing orders. For me, Mr Humphries, you continue to do this. This means that you have a very poor attitude in this Assembly to members' questions. I have to say at this point that the responses from your office are also very tardy. In fact, Mr Humphries, constituents are coming to me and saying that they are having difficulty in getting appointments with you, that you do not answer their letters - - -

Mr Kaine: On a point of order, Mr Speaker - - -

MS HORODNY: And that you are not responding to phone calls.

Mr Kaine: What the member is now saying is - - -

MS HORODNY: It is bringing out a whole - - -

Mr Kaine: Mr Speaker, I am on my feet on a point of order.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Horodny, sit down while a point of order is being taken.

MS HORODNY: There is no need to yell, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Sit down.

Mr Kaine: The argument that the member is putting has nothing to do with the motion before the Assembly. I suggest that she be told to curtail it.

MR SPEAKER: I uphold the point of order.

MS HORODNY: For heaven's sake! Mr Humphries, if your office is overworked and you have too many areas to look at within your office and within your portfolio, it would perhaps be easier sometimes for members to speak directly to bureaucrats. Mr Humphries, if it is too difficult for you to have enough staff to provide answers to these questions, it might be easier for us to go directly to bureaucrats, but of course that is not allowed. There is a dome of secrecy around every department in this Government.

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