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Tuesday, 27 May 2003
Page: 15042

Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP (3:33 PM) —On the question of precedent, I recall that the first time this was done was when we were in opposition and Mr Hewson was the Leader of the Opposition. A precedent was established whereby the question could be asked. But on the question that has been raised by the last speaker from the opposition, very simply the last part of the question put by the member for Grayndler was clearly a matter that related to budgetary issues within the purview of the minister responsible, and I think that was the point of order I raised at the time the question was asked.

I note that the last speaker for the opposition has requested that you go away and consider your ruling for a second time. I put it to you, Mr Speaker, that it always remains within your purview to rule certain parts of a question as being within the standing orders and certain parts of a question to be outside the standing orders. In that way, you have total control, and the independence of the committee system and committee chairmen remains intact. But to try to extrapolate the argument that, because the matter is touched on by a committee, it remains sacrosanct and a minister may not take over the carriage of the question would be an abuse of the standing orders. I think the ruling you have made—

Mr McMullan —No wonder you play with law.

Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP —I know there is competition between lawyers in this place. I think New South Wales lawyers do better than Victorian lawyers, of which I happen to be one. On the request that you reconsider your ruling, I will simply say, Mr Speaker, that I think the fact of the matter is that you, with that ruling, remain in control of the situation at all times without in any way impinging on the independence of the committee system.