ICAC LEGAL AID APPLICANTS
Mr J. J. AQUILINA: My question without notice is addressed to the Attorney General, Minister for Consumer Affairs and Minister for Arts. In relation to the answer given to the question asked by the honourable member for Ashfield earlier this day, did the Attorney General obtain a formal written advice from the Crown Solicitor -
Mr Moore: On a point of order. Sessional orders now provide for supplementary questions to be asked only by the member who asked the original question and at the time that the original question was responded to. I suggest that any question that starts with the words "Further to your answer to the question asked by the honourable member for Ashfield earlier" must, of necessity, be a supplementary question.
Mr J. J. Aquilina: On the point of order. This is clearly a different question though it arises from an answer given earlier by the Minister. It may not necessarily be a supplementary question if it seeks to provide further information, which is clearly what it seeks to do. The Minister for the Environment did not even allow me to complete my question before he took a point of order.
Dr Refshauge: On the point of order. The Minister said that if a question begins with words to the effect "taking into account an answer to an earlier question", it must be a supplementary question. A supplementary question must relate to the subject of the original question. It is possible therefore that although a question takes into account an earlier answer, it has more substance about a different subject - although related - and therefore it is not a supplementary question but a new question. The point of order is flawed.
Mr Whelan: On the point of order. I am very well acquainted with the requirement relating to supplementary questions, and had I wanted to ask a supplementary question, I would have. Surely any individual member is entitled to ask a question, as the honourable member for Riverstone has. I, as a member, can ask a supplementary question but to do so I must comply with the sessional orders, which require me to ask the question immediately upon hearing the Minister's answer. I did not do that. The honourable member for Riverstone has a separate question and he is entitled to ask it.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Supplementary questions being something new under the sessional orders, most members are in uncharted waters. I uphold that element of the Minister's point of order that there is certainly a presumption that when a question begins with the phrasing chosen by the honourable member for Riverstone it is a question supplementary to one asked earlier. It may well be ruled out of order on that basis because it is a supplementary question. However, I also uphold that element of the points put by the Opposition that until one has heard the entire question it is impossible to make a decision. I propose to allow the honourable member for Riverstone to ask the question, after which time I will determine whether I consider it a supplementary question.
Mr J. J. AQUILINA: My question without notice is directed to the Attorney General, Minister for Consumer Affairs and Minister for Arts. In relation to section 52 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act -
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I direct the honourable member for Riverstone to ask the question in the form in which he originally started to ask it.
Mr J. J. AQUILINA: The specific wording was: In relation to the answer given by the honourable member for Ashfield earlier did the Attorney General obtain formal written advice from the Crown Solicitor -
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I must have silence so I can listen to the question intently.
Mr J. J. AQUILINA: At that stage I was stopped. I continue: Did the Minister obtain some formal, written advice from the Crown Solicitor at all and was it given prior to his writing to applicants for legal assistance. If so, will he make it public? If not, why not?
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I would have to rule that is a supplementary question, given its phrasing.