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Monday, 23 March 1987
Page: 1354

The following notices were given:

Mr Sinclair to move-

That, unless otherwise ordered, the following amendments to the standing orders be adopted for the remainder of this session: ``Omit Chapter XI, substitute the following Chapter:

CHAPTER XI

QUESTIONS SEEKING INFORMATION

With or without notice

142. Questions may be asked with or without notice.

Questions to Ministers

143. Questions may be put to a Minister relating to public affairs with which the Minister is officially connected, to proceedings pending in the House, or to any matter of administration for which the Minister is responsible.

Questions to Speaker

144. Questions without notice may be put to the Speaker relating to any matter of administration for which the Speaker is responsible.

Questions to other Members

145. Questions may be put to a Member, not being a Minister, relating to any bill, motion, or other public matter connected with the business of the House, of which the member has charge.

Rules for questions

146. The following general rules apply to questions:

(a) Questions shall not be unduly long.

(b) Questions shall not contain-

(i) statements of facts or names of persons unless they are strictly necessary to render the question intelligible and the facts can be authenticated.

(ii) arguments;

(iii) inferences;

(iv) imputations;

(v) epithets;

(vi) ironical expressions; or

(vii) hypothetical matter.

(c) Questions shall not ask Ministers-

(i) for an expression of opinion;

(ii) to announce the Government's policy, but may seek an explanation regarding the policy of the Government and its application and may ask the Prime Minister whether a Minister's statement represents Government policy; or

(iii) for legal opinion.

(d) Questions shall not be asked which reflects on or are critical of the character or conduct of those persons whose conduct may only be challenged on a substantive motion, and notice must be given of questions critical of the character or conduct of other persons.

(e) Questions shall not refer to-

(i) debates in the current period of sittings; or

(ii) proceedings in committee not reported to the House.

(f) Questions may be asked to elicit information regarding business pending on the Notice Paper but discussion must not be anticipated.

(g) The Speaker may direct that the language of a question be changed if, in the opinion of the Speaker, it is unbecoming or not in conformity with the standing orders of the House.

(h) A question fully answered cannot be renewed.

Rules for answers

147. The answer to a question without notice-

(a) shall be concise and confined to the subject matter of the question;

(b) shall not debate the subject to which the question refers;

(c) shall not contain-

(i) arguments;

(ii) imputations;

(iii) epithets; or

(iv) ironical expressions, and

(d) shall not exceed 3 minutes in length: Provided that, at the discretion of the Speaker, a once-only extension of 2 minutes may be granted on the ground of complexity or importance of the subject matter or interruption of disorder having occurred during the answer.

Supplementary question

148. Immediately following the oral answer to a question, one supplementary question may be asked by the Member who asked the original question: Provided that the supplementary question is relevant to the original question or arises out of the answer given, contains no preamble, introduces no new matter and is put in precise and direct terms.

Period for questions without notice

149. The period for questions without notice shall be not less than 45 minutes but shall not be concluded until a minimum of 16 questions are asked, excluding disallowed and supplementary questions: Provided that, in the event of major disruptions occurring during the period, the Speaker may conclude the period after 45 minutes irrespective of the number of questions asked to that stage.

Notice of question

150. Notice of question shall be given by a Member delivering the same to the Clerk within such time as, in the opinion of the Speaker, will enable the question to be fairly printed. The question shall be fairly written, signed by the Member, and shall show the day proposed for asking the question.

Order of questions

151. The Clerk shall place notices of questions on the Notice Paper in the order in which they were received by him.

Reply to questions

152. The reply to a question on notice shall be given by delivering it to the Clerk. A copy of it shall be supplied to the Member who asked the question and the question and reply shall be printed in Hansard.

Mr Peter Fisher to move-

That this House-

(1) condemns the Hawke Government for its failure to-

(a) acknowledge that the current economic difficulties being experienced by the rural sector are not entirely the result of low market prices or adverse climatic conditions, and

(b) alleviate the escalating and crippling costs imposed on productive Australians through record interest rates, high inflation and the 6 monthly indexation of basic inputs, and

(2) calls on the Hawke Government to immediately-

(a) abolish petroleum products indexation and radically cut fuel excise to achieve a rapid drop in inflation and interest rates,

(b) hold discussions with financial institutions to develop joint arrangements that would allow waiving of interest payments in appropriate circumstances, and

(c) amend the Rural Adjustment Scheme to ensure the flexibility and financial capacity to provide long-term low interest loans, and adequate rehabilitation grants.