Page 1326 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005
Questions without notice
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Health. In the public hearings of the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into the annual reports on 30 March this year, the head of the insurance authority told the committee in relation to insurance claims against the government:
... on about 25 June last year, we were advised of another 165 claims. Our claims to date for that year had been 103.
The head of the insurance authority went on to say that these claims went back as far as three years, including what he called a bad birth and, because they had not been notified within a year of the incident coming to the attention of the territory, the territory had been put at risk.
Minister, why did ACT Health put the territory at risk by not informing the insurance authority earlier of these 165 claims?
MR CORBELL: I was not aware of the comments of the officer—
MR SPEAKER: Order! This is a matter that has yet to be reported to the Assembly. Standing order 117 (e) states:
Questions shall not refer to … proceedings in committee not reported to the Assembly.
I think I will rule your question out of order, Mr Smyth.
Mr Smyth: This is a matter that was publicly broadcast. This is information that has been put out further afield. This is information that has been actually broadcast and televised into the community. It is a community matter.
MR SPEAKER: The Clerk just raised the issue about what if the committee wants to make a recommendation in relation to this matter that you have raised. It is a proceeding in committee not yet reported. The general principle is that we do not try to jump the gun on committee recommendations.
Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, it does raise a difficulty. That would mean that, for instance, when the budget is dropped in this place—and the tradition has always been that questions can be asked on the budget—
MR SPEAKER: Indeed, Mr Smyth, but your question was specifically in relation to proceedings in a committee.
Mr Smyth: Budgets are then sent to committee and questions still continue to be asked.
Mr Stanhope: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: the question went directly to evidence given before a committee. The circumstance that the Leader of the Opposition adverts to