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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 28 October 2010) . . Page.. 5345 ..

MR CORBELL: In regard to these matters, the Assembly needs to have regard to the fact that ministers have extensive portfolio responsibilities—more so in this place than in many other parliaments—and rely, in terms of providing factual advice to members, on a range of written materials to assist with the very broad range of questions that they may be asked during question time.

The ruling that you have just made does have implications for the level of written material that ministers may choose to rely on in the chamber during question time. A consequence of your ruling may be that ministers decline to rely on written material during the answering of questions in this place. That may mean that, given the very detailed questions that members sometimes ask in this place, ministers will simply have to take more questions on notice.

I do not know whether that is in the best interests of the effective operation of question time when the whole point of question time is, of course, to elicit information from ministers about government activities, operations and policy. I think that the Assembly does have to exercise some caution on this matter. And whilst the government is, of course, prepared to abide by your ruling, it does raise some other practical difficulties about ministers being able to be properly briefed on matters that they can reasonably expect to be asked of them in question time without having material—often extensive briefing documents—suddenly made available to all members in this place.

I just make that observation and advise that it may have consequences for how ministers approach the amount of information they have available to them for the purposes of answering questions during question time.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Corbell. I am quite cognisant of the points you have made and I think they are important considerations for the Assembly. That is why I have specifically said on the broader question that I would like to give that some further consideration and undertake consultation—

Mr Corbell: I think you have already crossed that threshold.

MR SPEAKER: with members across the chamber. The specific issue with the document that Ms Burch has tabled today is that, in the latter part of the document, there is a specific reference to a figure. Ms Burch today said:

The information that I have in front of me indicates that there is no clear relationship between the female participation rate and cost …

In the document she tabled it says:

As illustrated in figure 1, there is no clear relationship between the female participation rate and childcare costs in the ACT.

It is clearly directly relevant. The figure is not in the document. I think that in this very specific instance we do have an incomplete document for the purposes. That is

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