Page 4225 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2005

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MR HARGREAVES: I think it is important for the chamber to know. But if you rule that I should not proceed, I am happy to sit down.

MR SPEAKER: I am not going to stop ministers from giving explanations about matters, the subject of which has been raised in question time. If you want to offer a further explanation then it is up to you to do so. We will see what Mr Pratt wants to do after this.

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you and Mr Pratt can then choose to do whatever he likes. Mrs Dunne put in an FOI on a filing matter. I have forgotten the number of pages that resulted but I think we measured it in kilograms rather than pages.

MR SPEAKER: You had better come to the explanation.

MR HARGREAVES: I think Mr Pratt’s question No 534 goes to the detail of that particular FOI and considerably more resources are required to sift through this information and answer the questions that Mr Pratt has raised. So the answer is that it is going to take a considerably greater length of time than is humanly possible to do because of the extra work that Mrs Dunne created, which is the reason why she is not the government whip any more.

Mr Gentleman: How much does this cost?

MR HARGREAVES: I don’t know.

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, I wish to speak to your original ruling: Mr Hargreaves said that he would go out and find the person who had not answered the question and flog them. That is not an explanation under any meaning of the standing orders. An explanation is, “I haven’t had a chance to sign it off because” or anything like that. But to make a flippant comment is not an explanation under 118A (b) and, therefore, Mr Pratt is within his rights to move that the Assembly take note of the fact that the minister failed to make an explanation.

This is a standing order that I think most of the members opposite do not understand. It is not sufficient to stand up and say, “I will look into it.”

Mr Hargreaves: I have just told you.

Mrs Dunne: That is not an explanation, Mr Speaker. The member is entitled to an explanation of why the answer has not been given in 30 days. To say, “I will go out and flog the person responsible” is not a suitable answer.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you. Mr Corbell on the point of order.

Mr Corbell: Mr Speaker, I think the opposition have not listened to what you said in relation to your ruling. As I understand it you have said that Mr Pratt is entitled to move a motion under standing order 118A (b) but it is not open to him to move a motion in relation to 118A (c), which is what he sought to do about five minutes ago. He cannot move a motion in relation to 118A (c) because the minister has provided an explanation.

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