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Tuesday, 9 February 1999
Page: 2192

Mr McMULLAN —Can I follow up on that question, Mr Speaker? We have a clear situation here where the minister has tabled a document which finishes `110 psychiatrists may be engaged in'. That is obviously a very comprehensive brief, but why it finished there nobody could understand. We are quite sure that page 2 of that document does exist. I ask you at the very least to consult the video and read the Hansard and it will be very clear to you that he is not complying with the standing orders yesterday or today.

Mr SPEAKER —I allowed the minister on indulgence to make a comment and I said I would respond to the question from the Manager of Opposition Business to me and, as I recall, not to the Leader of the House, although one may have been forgiven for thinking so during what was being said. There is no obligation to table one page, four pages or an entire book. There is an obligation to table the page from which you are reading, if you are prepared to do so, and indicate that in fact it is not confidential. The minister has met that requirement.

Mr Beazley —Mr Speaker, I take a point of order on that. It goes to the comments just made by the minister at the table when he got up to speak here. He said that he had before him yesterday two pages. In fact, there were more pages than that. He had a page which was clearly additionally associated with his brief and he commented from both sections yesterday. When you see his performance, you will agree. You have made a perfectly correct ruling when you say that there is an ability, if a person so chooses, to table part or all of a brief. The point is that that is not what he said. He has compounded it by coming in here today and being blatantly misleading on what he had in his hands. He got up here today, being a bit of a smart Alec, saying, `I have these two pages here and the second page is all there was.' Clearly that was not all.

Mr SPEAKER —The Leader of the Opposition has made his point and I have ruled. The Minister for Health and Aged Care indicates that a comment he wishes to make would help the House. I am happy to hear the Leader of the Opposition or he may prefer to defer to the Minister for Health and Aged Care.