Published: 27 November 2018

Legislative Council Wednesday 21 November, 2018 

Ms  FORREST  (Murchison) - Mr President, I wish to make a brief complaint about the handling of questions without notice by the Government.  In the last sitting a couple of weeks ago I asked a question that took some time to get answer to regarding the meetings or communications between the then Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, the honourable Rene Hidding MP, and the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia. 

The question was not answered as the question was posed.  At the time I said I would put it on notice, which I did on 6 November.  The Government had already had the question for some weeks.  I put it back on notice within a day or two of our last sitting day.  It is now 21 November.  That is more than two weeks.  It was not a new question.  It was not reframed.  It may have been clarifying the question I was asking but I still do not have an answer.  I understand there may an answer tomorrow.

Mr President, I acted in good faith.  I asked the questions as clearly and concisely as I could.  We do not receive answers in a timely manner.  This is without notice.  I asked another question on 8 November, just under two weeks ago.  I sent it through without notice.  I did receive a call from the minister's office related to the TT-Line's annual report and I understand the minister had received a significant amount of information last week.  I received a call about that and was told the answer was being prepared.  I said that was fine.  I asked if I would have it next week and was told, yes.

The reason I am raising it today is because it is Wednesday.  Tomorrow is the last day.  If the question is not answered I will not have another chance until next week, which is our last sitting week.  I know the member for McIntyre often raises this question.  There is almost always a supplementary when she asks a question without notice because the question has not been answered.  I try really hard, and I am sure other members do too, to make the questions very clear but the questions are still not answered.  We put it on notice, as requested, the following day.  In two weeks or 15 days later, there is still no answer to a question that was not new. 

It was not as if a follow-up question needed to be answered because the information received provided a lack of clarity or new information was sought.  It was the same question.  Mr President, questions without notice are becoming a mockery.  We are being treated with disrespect in this House.  We act in good faith when putting questions on notice. 

Another I sent through on 15 November was a follow-up question and not a restudying of the question.  It was a follow-up question to a question I asked about the Murchison Highway and the poor condition it is in.  I asked a further question relating to the answer I received.  That is still six days, when we are supposed to have a question answered within 24 hours.  I understand it can take a bit longer.  This seems disrespectful to me, particularly when the same question was asked 15 days ago and there is still no answer.  It is not good enough and we should be treated with more respect by the ministers who are not answering our questions.

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