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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 March 2017) . . Page.. 1248 ..

Madam Speaker, rest assured that Access Canberra is working proactively with all parties in rental bonds. Tenants, landlords and agents can contact Access Canberra by phone or by email at any time to discuss the status of a rental bond transaction. I hope that this information has helped the Assembly with this important function.

Australian public service—impact of relocations

MR BARR: Madam Speaker, during question time, Mrs Jones asked you a series of questions based on statements I made. Without wanting to steal your thunder, Madam Speaker, I thought it would be best if I enlighten the Assembly as to the rationale behind my statements. I refer Mrs Jones to House of Representatives Practice, which is what we defer to when our standing orders are silent in relation to questions to ministers. I quote:

Questions may not be put to one Minister, other than the Prime Minister, about the ministerial responsibilities of another except that questions may be put to Ministers acting in another portfolio. Where a question may involve the responsibility of more than one Minister, it should be directed to the Minister most responsible.

A Minister may refuse to answer a question. He or she may also transfer a question to another Minister and it is not in order to question the reason for doing so. If a question has been addressed to the incorrect Minister, the responsible Minister may answer, but if necessary the Member can be given an opportunity to redirect it. In many instances the responsibilities referred to in a question may be shared by two or more Ministers and it is only the Ministers concerned who are in a position to determine authoritatively which of them is more responsible. It is not unusual for the Prime Minister to refer questions addressed to him—

it should be him or her in this instance—

to the Minister directly responsible. No direct statement, request or overt action by the Prime Minister is required to indicate that another Minister will answer a question addressed to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister may also choose to answer a question addressed to another Minister.

I hope that clarifies for Mrs Jones the reason for my comments.

MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, Chief Minister. I will see if I can value-add to that and come back to the Assembly tomorrow. House of Representatives Practice is a very good bit of reading material for members.


Madam Speaker presented the following paper:

Government Agencies (Campaign Advertising) Act, pursuant to subsection 20(1)—Independent Reviewer—Report for the period 9 September to 31 December 2016, dated March 2017, prepared by Professor Dennis Pearce.

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