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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (27 October) . . Page.. 2282 ..

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. Mr Moore continually refers to my opinion. My question related to Professor Douglas's opinion and whether Mr Moore agreed with it.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, and I explained that questions shall not ask Ministers for an expression of opinion.

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I was using the opportunity to make a point to Mr Berry so that I could clarify my original answer. I said that I do agree with Professor Douglas in many ways. I was asked whether I am going to rule out the selling of any asset in the Territory. I am not going to play the rule-out game, Mr Speaker. That is what it is about. This Government is not going to play the rule-out game. That is what Mr Berry would have us do.

Mr Berry: No, that is not the supplementary question I asked.

MR SPEAKER: Well, that is the answer you are getting, so sit down, please.

Mr Berry: I asked whether it was ideological stupidity or not.

MR MOORE: Mr Berry has taken points of order on quite a number of occasions in this question time. On none of them has he identified the standing order to which he refers. He has enough experience to identify a particular standing order, if he wants to, Mr Speaker. He certainly knows that 118(a) states that a Minister's answer shall be concise and confined to the subject matter. I am trying to do that. Mr Speaker, you have also clarified exactly how we are to do that. The most important thing to understand is that I am not, and this Government is not, ideologically bound to privatising anything, just the same as we are not ideologically bound, as indeed the Labor Party seems to be, to privatising nothing. We will look at the merits of any particular situation and try to deal with it in the most pragmatic way possible in the best interests of the people of Canberra, not just for short-term - and here is a major difference - political expediency but for the long-term gains.

There are many things that I agree with Professor Douglas on. I think he has made a major contribution to public health in Australia. There is no doubt about that. He is very astute. Even while I was studying under him and he was teaching me, there were many things - Mr Berry, this will not come as a surprise - upon which I disagreed with him. That is what should happen in a healthy community. We should debate those issues in as open and as frank a way as we possibly can.

Mr Humphries: I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper, Mr Speaker.

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