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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (7 August) . . Page.. 2467 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

gallery? I am interested to know whether this is the language you would use in a referendum. If not, why not?

MR HUMPHRIES: If Ms Tucker had read the paper today she would see that that is not the language we are proposing to use in this referendum. The question of the wording of the referendum is still a matter for the Assembly to determine, so I cannot at this stage be definitive about what kind of language might be used. Ultimately the question is in the hands of all the members of this place, including you, Ms Tucker.

Mr Kaine: I thought Mr Moore had already decided what the questions were going to be. He said so in the paper.

MR HUMPHRIES: No, he has not, Mr Kaine, any more than you have apparently. I do not cite the survey to which you refer as evidence of a particular point of view. I am not saying that this proves people are in favour or against any of the three proposals that were put to people because I acknowledge that the language used has a very clear impact on the sort of answer you might receive. I simply make the point that in being asked those questions, over 90 or 91 per cent of the people who responded came back with a clear view about these issues. There was not this sense of: "I don't know. I don't know enough about this question. I need more information. I cannot make a decision." It was a clear indication that-

Ms Tucker: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Under standing order 118, we do not need to debate the subject. I am interested in the answer to the question on the language. That is all I have asked. Would he use that language?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I am entitled to say more than just simply yes or no, and I will do that.

Ms Tucker: That is debating the question.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, that is not the case. You put to me in your question that people could be misled by the way in which the questions are put, and I am putting to you that that could be the case, but that the reason for which I was citing that survey was to demonstrate that people have strong views about this. They are competent enough to say to a stranger who rings them and asks them for their opinion, "I believe I know the answer to the question you are asking." I realise that you believe that these things are too important, too complex, for people in the ACT to be able to understand.

Ms Tucker: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: could I have your ruling on this? Standing order 118 (b) says, "shall not debate the subject". I am not interested in what Mr Humphries thinks, and my question was not about the question of the referendum or how strong the community feeling was. My question was: would you use this sort of language in a referendum? That was my question.

MR SPEAKER: I think that aspect has been answered.

Ms Tucker: Well, it's fine for him to finish then. I am not interested in a debate.

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