Page 3816 - Week 12 - Thursday, 24 October 2013

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Ministerial arrangements

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education): The Attorney-General and Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development is absent from question time on ministerial business, so I will take his questions today.

Questions without notice

Same-sex marriage—High Court challenge

MR HANSON: My question is to the Chief Minister, as the Acting Attorney-General. Chief Minister, your government has indicated that it will defend its Marriage Equality Bill in the High Court. Could you advise who will comprise the government’s legal representation team?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. The territory has engaged counsel. We have Kate Eastman leading that team, ably supported by the Government Solicitor.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Chief Minister, what support resources will be drawn from the ACT public service?

MS GALLAGHER: There will be support provided by the ACT public service, as there is for any case that the ACT government is involved in before the courts.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Attorney, to what extent will those support resources be diverted from service delivery in other areas, and what areas will be affected?

MS GALLAGHER: Like in all areas of government, there is a balancing of different workloads depending on the issues before directorates. This is something we expect the Government Solicitor will be able to deal with. I have not heard news to the contrary. I have spoken with the head of the Justice and Community Safety Directorate around cases that the Solicitor General has been involved in before before the High Court. So this is not the first time. When those other cases have gone on they have managed those within the resources available to them and with the competing pressures on their workload.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, what budget has been set aside for your government’s defence, including costs for legal advice, legal representation and in-kind costs from the diversion of public service resources?

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