Page 887 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 20 March 2012

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Dr Bourke: That is the document.

Mr Smyth: No, the piece of white paper that you were reading from before that.

Dr Bourke: Private notes.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, you will need to move a motion in that case.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (2.16): Under standing order 213, I move:

That Dr Bourke (Minister for Education and Training) table the document he was quoting from.

It is important, in this new regime where the Chief Minister said she would be more open and more accountable, that all her ministers comply with that. The minister was quoting from a document. They are now checking the said document. He is getting the go-ahead from Mr Corbell because he cannot make a decision himself. But he did quote quite extensively from the document. I think it is very important that members see all that might have been in that document. We saw the meandering, some 18 minutes—30 minutes, 18 minutes—on 2CC the other day where they delayed the news because of the debacle that Dr Bourke had caused on that program because of his lack of knowledge.

He has referred members not to the weapons policy but back to section 36 of the act because clearly the department or the minister have inadvertently removed any reference to weapons in the policy. I think it is important that we know what it is that the minister is quoting from and how the minister is using it. For those very simple reasons I believe that he should table the document.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (2.18): It is probably timely to remind the Assembly that there are precedents in this place in relation to requiring ministers to table certain documents they quote from. In particular, there is precedent which previous Assemblies, although not this opposition, have accepted, which is that, where ministers are referring to private notes, they are not required by order of this place to table them.

Whilst in this instance I am advised by Dr Bourke that he is not referring to such notes, and he can indicate how he intends to handle the document, it is important to remind members that there is a longstanding convention in this place that where ministers are referring to private notes to assist them with their answer, they are not required to provide them. Otherwise we will enter into the ludicrous situation where every member will seek from every other member the private notes that they use to participate in debates and other activities in this place. I think it is important that we simply remind ourselves that that is the way that this standing order is meant to operate, that it is the convention upon which it is meant to operate and which those opposite seem to be quite happy to ignore. I will leave it to Dr Bourke in relation to the particular document, but I think it is important that the government put its position on the record in relation to how this standing order should be applied in this place.

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