Extract from NSW Legislative Council Hansard and Papers Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Sydney Drive-By Shootings

The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Police, Minister for Lands, and Minister for Rural Affairs. Is he aware that Port Moresby is regarded as one of the most dangerous cities in our region? Is he also aware that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has a longstanding travel alert on its website warning Australians of the dangers they face when travelling to Port Moresby? Is the Minister aware of recent media reports that there have been 80 drive-by shootings in Sydney this year? Is he also aware there have been no drive-by shootings in Port Moresby in that time? What action is the Minister taking or has taken to ensure that the Papua New Guinea National Government does not publish a travel alert for Sydney to warn Papua New Guinea citizens of the dangers they face in any planned visit to our once peaceful city?

The Hon. Greg Donnelly: Point of order: Mr President, members opposite would be well aware that on 12 March you gave a detailed ruling on the nature and formation of questions. The question is outside the purview of the Minister. It relates to matters under the control of the Commonwealth and therefore it should be ruled out of order.

The Hon. Duncan Gay: To the point of order: The Government almost on a daily basis, especially during Federal election campaigns, seems to wander across this area and blur the lines. It is up to the Minister how he answers the question.

The Hon. CHARLIE LYNN: Further to the point of order: Those of us in Australia who read the daily newspapers are aware of the dangers posed by drive-by shootings. That is why they have travel alerts to warn people—

The PRESIDENT: Order! Standing Order 64 (1) provides that questions may be put to Ministers relating to public affairs with which the Minister is officially connected. I fail to see how matters relating to a foreign government would come under the purview of a Minister in this House. The question is out of order.