Page 2389 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 June 2011

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morning, six proposed matters of public importance were lodged on the topic “The importance and competence of leadership in government”. House of Representatives Practice, the fifth edition, at page 578, stipulates that a matter submitted “must be definite—that is, single, specific and precise in its wording”. It also requires the Speaker to “have regard to the extent to which the matter concerns the administrative responsibilities of Ministers”. Similarly, the Companion states that the Speaker must take into account whether the matter submitted is “within the scope of ministerial action”.

Whilst I ultimately concluded that the six MPIs submitted on this topic are in order, I would like to make the observation that the requirement that the matter be definite—that is, single, specific and precise in its meaning—was something that I had to consider for some time when deciding whether the matter was in order or not. It was also not clear to me which minister was able to take action in this matter, although I made the assumption that it was the Chief Minister who was responsible for leadership and competence in government in the ACT.

I remind members, when framing their matters for submission, to have regard to the two issues I have mentioned.

Questions without notice

Alexander Maconochie Centre—planned prisoner revolt

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Attorney-General. Attorney-General, are you aware of any incidents at the Alexander Maconochie Centre involving a planned armed revolt by prisoners? If so, how many have there been and when were they discovered?

MR CORBELL: A range of security incidents emerge as a result of intelligence operations in the prison from time to time. I would have to take advice in relation to the specific type of circumstance that Mr Seselja is referring to, but it is the case that the government maintains a strong watch on what occurs in relation to the security status of the prison and has an intelligence-gathering capacity established at the prison for that purpose.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Attorney, what action was taken on 17 December 2010 in regard to a possible armed revolt by prisoners?

MR CORBELL: I am not going to discuss the specifics of security arrangements at the prison, for obvious reasons.

MR HANSON: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Attorney-General, is keeping this incident secret at direct odds with your leader’s pledge for open and accountable government?

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