Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 November 2007) . . Page.. 3269 ..
practices and procedures of the public hospital system and the review and evaluation of the organisational and administrative arrangements for the public hospital system within ACT Health.
These issues relate directly to the issue of management of public hospitals in the ACT, which is the subject matter of the MPI proposed by Mrs Burke. Therefore, I put to you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, that the MPI pre-empts and anticipates the debate that will be had tomorrow and should be ruled out of order.
Mrs Burke: On the point of order, I refute Mr Corbell’s suggestion. I do not think the matter of public importance will anticipate debate. I will take note of the motion on the notice paper for tomorrow. I believe that what I will have to say will be in order.
MADAM TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Corbell and Mrs Burke. At 8.30 this morning, Mr Speaker determined the matter of public importance to be debated. In doing so, he would have taken into account what was likely to come on in this matter. In determining that this was a matter of public importance that was in order, he was not able to anticipate another scheduling meeting that might take place. So I think that, as the Speaker has already determined this is the matter of public importance for discussion today, we should proceed with the matter.
Mr Corbell: On the point of order, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, regardless of when the MPI was selected by the Speaker, surely the matter cannot anticipate a debate. Clearly, it is clear now that the opposition intend tomorrow to debate a motion into the management, practices and procedures of the public hospital system, amongst other things. That is exactly the same as the matter that is proposed for the MPI.
Regardless of whether or not the Speaker has determined that it was in order at the time, the question for you is: is it in order now? Anything can be in order at a particular point in time. The question for you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, is: is it in order now when it is brought to your attention? Given that the notice paper indicates that an item will be debated tomorrow, it is very much a case of anticipating debate.
MADAM TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Corbell.
Mr Stefaniak: On the point of order—
MADAM TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, it is all right, Mr Stefaniak. Mr Corbell has made a valid point up to a point, as far as it goes. I have looked at the practice that we have in the Assembly and at House of Representatives Practice, and I will read the appropriate few sentences:
Where a topic of an MPI has been very similar to the subject matter of a bill due for imminent debate, the discussion has been permitted, subject to the proviso that the debate on the bill should not be canvassed or that the bill not be referred to in detail.
I will rule that the matter of public importance is in order, with the proviso that, in discussing the matter of public importance, any debate that may be conducted tomorrow should not be canvassed.