Page 5259 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 29 November 2017

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Mr Rattenbury: I did, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: So that we can get through private members’ day—we have got a busy afternoon ahead—I ask that you be gracious enough to withdraw.

Mr Rattenbury: For the benefit of my sensitive colleagues, I withdraw.

Questions without notice

Statement by Speaker

MADAM SPEAKER: Members, yesterday at the conclusion of question time I was asked by Mr Wall for guidance as to standing order 118(c). Standing order 118(c) was adopted in March 2012 at a time when ministers had 10 minutes to answer questions. With the advent of 25 members, we now have a question time procedure that is markedly different to the one adopted in 2012, with ministers having a total of six minutes to answer.

While some may consider it still possible for ministers to give an answer that may be considered to be in the form of a ministerial statement, it is my view that the advent of six-minute answers instead of 10 minutes makes the ability to make a ministerial statement very much more limited.

I note that the answer Mr Hanson sought to make a statement on was in response to a question asked by Ms Cheyne, who sought an update on Taskforce Nemesis. I believe Mr Gentleman was answering that question directly and not making a ministerial statement. However, I will continue to consider claims of a ministerial statement on a case-by-case basis, noting the views I have expressed above.

I remind members that next year the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure will be undertaking a comprehensive review of standing orders and the committee will be writing to all MLAs. If members believe a standing order could be further clarified or, indeed, removed, I encourage them to make a submission.

Mr Wall: A point of order, Madam Speaker, on your guidance and advice. You stated that you believe Ms Cheyne’s question was being answered by the minister. The Hansard account of Ms Cheyne’s question was:

Minister, can you update the Assembly on Taskforce Nemesis?”

The answer to that question would be either, “Yes, I can,” or “No, I cannot.” Any further explanation would be interpreted as a ministerial statement.

MADAM SPEAKER: There is no point of order. My ruling was that the response was in order and in no way was a ministerial statement.

Mr Wall: Again on that, Madam Speaker, 8.50 of the companion to the standing orders says that a ministerial statement is a statement by a minister “concerning matters of administration or policy for which they are responsible”. Given that the

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