Page 3069 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013

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Thursday, 15 August 2013

MADAM SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.


Statement by Speaker

MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call the Clerk, a couple of matters arose in question time yesterday that I would like to address. Members will recall that yesterday I ruled out of order a supplementary question asked of Mr Corbell as Attorney-General. The question from Mr Gentleman, according to the proof transcript, was:

Attorney, how do you account for the 46 per cent drop in juvenile detention for Indigenous people?

I ruled the question out of order on the basis of my understanding that the minister responsible for the detention of young people was Minister Burch in her capacity as Minister for Disability, Children and Young People. At the conclusion of question time a number of points of order sought clarification, and I undertook to review the matter and come back to the Assembly.

I have checked the administrative arrangements dated 13 May 2013, which indicate that the Minister for Disability, Children and Young People is the minister responsible for youth policy services including youth justice and is further responsible for the Children and Young People Act 2008, except for chapter 20, which I understand relates to child care and which is the responsibility of the Minister for Education and Training.

I have also reviewed the ACT criminal justice profile tabled by the Attorney-General earlier this week. It seems from the profile that the information on youth justice, including the ethnic mix of young people in Bimberi, would have been supplied by the youth justice services in the Community Services Directorate.

Having considered the matter, I uphold my ruling that the responsible minister is the Minister for Disability, Children and Young People. I understand it would be the convention for ministers to refer questions to more appropriately qualified ministers, but that is an arrangement for ministers themselves.

I want to address another matter that arose in question time as well. In an answer by Mr Corbell to questions from Mr Coe on light rail a number of points of order were raised on relevance by Mr Coe and Mr Smyth. At the conclusion of that, Minister Corbell proceeded to answer the question; I sat Mr Corbell down, and he objected to that.

I reflected on the transcript, and I consider that Mr Corbell was justified in objecting to that. He was miffed—I use the word “miffed”—and I would have been in similar circumstances. I apologise to Mr Corbell and to the Assembly for what seems to have been a lapse in concentration on my part.

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