Page 524 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 5 March 2008

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to the other company? I mean, there is a range of scuttlebutt going around this town at the moment—

Mrs Dunne: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Smyth: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

MR BARR: that, in fact, you are out trying to procure sponsorship for the other event. Is that true?


MR BARR: Is that true? Are you out procuring sponsorship—

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Barr! Sit down.

Mr Smyth: Under standing order 118 (b) the minister cannot debate the subject. The question was simply: why have you decided the event would be better managed by staff of the ACT government? What will this event cost in dollars and in-kind support for the ACT taxpayers? Have you approved the business plan?

MR SPEAKER: Stick with the subject matter, Mr Barr.

Mrs Dunne: On the point of order, Mr Speaker. The minister, in his attempt to answer this question, has just made a series of imputations about Mr Smyth. Those imputations should be withdrawn.

Mr Stanhope: On the point of order, Mr Speaker, there was no imputation in the suggestion. It was a rhetorical question asking Mr Smyth whether or not he is actively engaged in seeking sponsorship for the balloonfest. That is quite a legitimate question to ask. Is he out there in a moonlighting fashion as a business manager for the balloonfest? It is a reasonable question to be posed.

MR SPEAKER: Order! I get the point. Rhetorical questions have been a strong tradition in this chamber on both sides.

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, I was not referring to rhetorical questions. I was referring to direct imputations that Mr Smyth has behaved in some underhand way in relation to this—

MR SPEAKER: I will have a look at it. You had better be specific. I am not going to rule on something as non-specific as that. What in particular were you referring to?

Mrs Dunne: What I was referring to was the imputation that Mr Smyth had some inappropriate relationship with the company that had lost the—

Mr Pratt: It was a pretty strong imputation.

Mrs Dunne: It was a very strong imputation and it should be withdrawn.

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