Page 398 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 17 February 2015

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MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, are all people in trouble with the law afforded the opportunity to speak in schools to students in an effort to reduce a pending sentence?

MS BURCH: Mr Wall must feel particularly gratified to ask that question. I hope that when he has children they grow up to be decent, civilised young people—

Mr Wall: A point of order.

MADAM SPEAKER: Order! Sit down, Minister Burch.

MS BURCH: and that no-one—

MADAM SPEAKER: Minister Burch, sit down. A point of order.

Mr Wall: Standing order 118(b) says that an answer to a question without notice shall not debate the subject to which the question refers. I ask that you draw the minister to the question.

MADAM SPEAKER: I uphold the point of order.

Mr Corbell: On the point of order.

MADAM SPEAKER: On the point of order?

Mr Corbell: Yes. Madam Speaker, they are asking about Minister Burch’s son. They are calling Minister Burch’s son a criminal, for base political advantage. She is entitled not only to answer the question—and has an obligation to do so—but also to defend her family. The point of order ignores—

MADAM SPEAKER: This is a debating point, Mr Corbell.

Mr Corbell: the base political attack from those opposite.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, this is a debating point. Sit down. On the point of order, the question that Mr Wall asked was: are other people who are in trouble with the law allowed to do particular things? Minister Burch should be mindful of standing order 118(b) and not debate the question. I think that if there is a program that allows such things to happen in schools, Minister Burch is free to talk about that. If there is not, she should say whether there is not. But I would ask her not to debate it. This is a difficult issue and people have been taking points of order and using them as debating points on both sides. I would like us to have orderly progress through question time on a difficult issue, and I would ask Minister Burch, along with everyone else, to be mindful of the standing orders. On this occasion I uphold the point of order and ask Minister Burch not to debate the issue but to answer the question.

MS BURCH: I have answered the question.

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