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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (15 June) . . Page.. 1857 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

that he could revoke the development approval potentially for the Lyneham tennis centre on the ground that it was obtained by fraud or misrepresentation. I further asked the minister if he would table any such advice he received to that extent.

Mr Speaker, you have not demonstrated, and neither has the government, for that matter, that this question is in any way similar to the question asked yesterday. In fact, I do not believe you know the question that was asked yesterday and whether or not it is any way similar. I can confirm to you, Mr Speaker, that it is absolutely not the same question. For you to simply say that the question has been fully answered when you do not know what the question was that was asked yesterday is, quite frankly, a joke. For you to behave in such a manner and deny me the opportunity to ask a supplementary question on this matter is also a joke.

Mr Speaker, the opposition entered into the most recent sittings of this Assembly in anew spirit of trying to engage more openly, let us say, in the question time process, but, as you would know from the discussions of representatives of all members in this place in the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure, the committee was strongly of the view that you should uphold the standing orders in relation to ministers answering questions in a succinct matter. In fact, Mr Speaker, the offer was extended to you that the support would be available from the opposition for you to be able to hold ministers accountable in that regard.

Quite frankly, Mr Speaker, you have failed to do that. You have failed to demonstrate any willingness to hold the government to its responsibilities in relation to answering questions. You are being quite vigorous, I must say, in ensuring that the opposition stick by standing orders, but you are not demonstrating the same level of commitment in relation to holding ministers accountable in relation to the answering of questions.

Mr Speaker, the bottom line is that you have not demonstrated that the question I asked yesterday is the same as the one I asked today. You have basically allowed the government to avoid answering the question by saying that the question has been fully answered. Your ruling is quite inappropriate. First of all, you should require the minister to answer the question, and secondly, you should permit me to ask a supplementary question in response.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (2.50): Mr Speaker, I think it is really important to keep this in perspective. There are a couple of things. The first one is that if you look back at the question time for the last couple of days you will see that there has been as much time spent on the questions as the answers. The government has respected the will of the Assembly and has answered succinctly, with the one exception when I was asked something like a four or five part question and I said I may need to go a little longer. Even then I believe I stayed within the four minutes, with that one exception, because we recognised a concern that Mr Kaine had raised. The government has deliberately taken the effort to answer the questions in a reasonable way.

The contrary part, Mr Speaker, that puts the lie to what Mr Corbell is saying is that you also made it very clear that what the opposition were not to do was to stand up, pretend they were taking a point of order, and then reiterate their questions. It is the game they have played. Mr Berry used to be the very best at it. You have made it very clear to

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