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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1896 ..

MR SPEAKER: Standing order 118, apart from paragraphs (a) and (b), has a tail that reads:

... and the Speaker may direct a Member to terminate an answer if of the opinion that these provisions are being contravened or that the Member has had a sufficient opportunity to answer the question.

Mr Wood: You have never done it with this lot.

MR SPEAKER: This lot, as you call it, has never spent 20 minutes answering a question, or trying to answer one.

MR BERRY: I beg your leave, Mr Speaker. All I am trying to do is make up some of the lost ground that - - -

MR SPEAKER: You will be begging my pardon very shortly, I can assure you, if you keep going on with this.

MR BERRY: I just want your leave at the moment. I would welcome these questions each day. I quite enjoy them because they give me the opportunity to traverse ground which ultimately will be traversed in the course of this Assembly. Important issues arose from the Estimates Committee report. It was a good report, with 50 recommendations critical of the Government's budget. It did not add anything - - -

MR SPEAKER: You are not answering the question.

MR BERRY: It did not add anything to the bottom line.

Mr Hargreaves: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek a ruling from you. We have heard those opposite run points of order complaining about the time Mr Berry has taken to answer these questions. During that time they have repeated points or order, they have interjected and they have talked over the top of him. I seek your assistance. If in accordance with the standing orders you seek to quieten them down and keep them from interjecting, the answer will be over in a fraction of the time.

MR SPEAKER: The answer is going to be over in a fraction of the time anyway, because Mr Berry has about one minute before I close it down.

MR BERRY: That is just about long enough. No, it did not add anything to the bottom line, because that is not the role of the Estimates Committee. It would be an exciting new role for the Estimates Committee if we were given that responsibility. We would not need a government then. We would not need an Executive. We could save all that money and use it for things like Floriade. We also recommended things like the retention of the voluntary redundancy provisions in the public sector award. That will not cost anything more than last year.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Berry. Pease resume your seat.

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