Questions Without Notice to Members of the Opposition

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (15:09): I seek leave to ask a question of the Leader of the Opposition and shadow attorney-general regarding the Keogh matter.

The PRESIDENT: Are you going to have a brief explanation?

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Point of order: the relevant standing order must be cited.

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Pangallo, did you seek leave to make a brief explanation?

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: No, I sought leave to ask the question.

The PRESIDENT: You don’t need to seek leave, but the question has to be something that relates to the Leader of the Opposition’s responsibilities to the council.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: It relates to the Keogh matter.

The PRESIDENT: Just ask the question and I will rule.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: Can the shadow attorney-general explain why his government withheld for nine years the advice containing the crucial evidence by the state’s own forensic expert, Professor Barrie Vernon-Roberts, that no murder had been committed and was more likely accidental and ultimately led to the conviction of Mr Keogh being quashed and compensation payment being made; why the state Ombudsman found that the Crown and the government did not act as model litigants in the matter; and does he agree his government, through the Crown, had a duty of disclosure regarding the release of crucial information to the defence, or are they still in denial about the outcome of the Court of Appeal decision?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Point of order, sir.

The PRESIDENT: Before I hear the point of order—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! The first thing, before I hear the point of order, I would like to hear from the member whether he wishes to answer the question in the first instance and then I will hear any point of order. Do you wish to answer the question?

The Hon. K.J. Maher: I would prefer to hear the point of order. No, I don’t have responsibility to the chamber for—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Leader of the Opposition, when you address me you do so on your feet.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: No, I don’t wish to answer.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: The point of order is, sir, that quite plainly on the face of it the question cannot be asked of the Leader of the Opposition. He has no responsibility to this chamber for the matters raised in the honourable member’s question.

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD: Point of order, Mr President.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Are we all finished with our conversation? I would like to hear the Hon. Mr Hood’s point of order.

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD: Thank you, Mr President. I appreciate your protection. The Leader of the Opposition is the shadow attorney-general. He has exact responsibility for this area.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Are we finished with our informal debate? The standing orders say that the individual has to have a matter of special responsibility to the chamber. Therefore, the question is out of order. I remind the Leader of the Opposition that in a previous life I did actually answer the question that his bench asked me. He may wish to reflect on that.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Point of order: could I ask which standing order you are referring to?

The PRESIDENT: Standing order 107.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: I draw to your attention, Mr President, that there is no reference to responsibility to the chamber in standing order 107.

The PRESIDENT: They are matters that may be specially concerned.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: It says ‘to other members’, making it clear that it is not members of the Crown.

The PRESIDENT: I have already ruled, minister. We move on. The Hon. Mr Hanson.

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