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Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Page: 223

Mr RANDALL (Canning) (10:54): I have just a very brief intervention after listening to this debate. I refer to the standing order 98 regarding questions to ministers. It says:

(b) During Question Time, a Member may orally ask a question of a Minister (but not a Parliamentary Secretary) without notice and for immediate response.

Can I put it to you, Mr Speaker, that there appears to be creeping into this place a practice—and we have just heard it from the member for Kennedy and others—of handing to the ministers their questions before question time. So it is not an oral question; it is a question basically on notice—a written question—which I think is not in line with the standing orders. We have had the spectre of some ministers, particularly the member for Kingsford Smith, then reading a whole dissertation as a result of having had the opportunity to answer a question with notice. I do not think it is in the spirit of the standing orders on question time in this place for both the opposition and the government to receive that. To have that admission in this place today, I find rather unusual.

The other observation I will make, and I know it has been largely agreed to today, is that because of certain idiosyncratic members we will give them the latitude of going past the time required for questions. How idiosyncratic do you need to be to break the time limit of a question? I place those observations on the record because I think we should be fair to all when we ask questions in this place.

The SPEAKER: Briefly remarking on the comments made by the member for Canning, I do not think that giving a minister prior notice of a question is outside the standing orders, but certainly it is outside the spirit of the standing orders at the time when the standing orders were written. I would like to see more spontaneity but I suspect that dorothy dix questions have been asked by private members of governments on both sides almost forever. The question is that the motion moved by the Leader of the House be agreed to.

Question agreed to.