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Thursday, 19 February 1987
Page: 361

Mr SINCLAIR (Manager of Opposition Business) —Madam Speaker, I seek your indulgence on another point of procedure. You will recall that standing order 145 is the only standing order that gives you any power over the answers to questions. I draw your attention to the fact that today there were eight questions during questions without notice. Whilst I understand your restraints, and the fact that the Procedure Committee of this place is now examining the question and has reported to this place upon suggested changes to our Standing Orders in respect of this, I suggest to you that, unless answers are relevant to the questions, protracted answers, given in the way that the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke), the Treasurer (Mr Keating) and the Minister for Social Security (Mr Howe) gave them in this place today, are against the intention of that section. I hope, Madam Speaker, that there can be reasonable opportunity in this place for there to be sufficient numbers of questions without notice to enable all members to ask their questions reasonably and get reasonably concise and precise answers from Ministers.

Madam SPEAKER —The Chair would be most happy if that were to happen. However, I point out to the House once again that the management of this House and the Standing Orders in this House are the property of the members. They have appointed a Procedure Committee. They may put their ideas before the Procedure Committee and give to the person who occupies this chair Standing Orders that it is possible to put into operation.

Mr Keating —On the point of Standing Orders, Madam Speaker, it has also been a part of the practice of this House that a person who represents himself as a leader of a party in this place gets the confidence of his members. Perhaps when the Leader of the National Party--

Madam SPEAKER —Order! The Treasurer will resume his seat.