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Wednesday, 29 June 1994
Page: 2300

Senator COLSTON —My question is directed to you, Mr President. My question relates to page 1706 of the Daily Hansard of Monday, 20 June 1994. The Hansard record indicates that Senator McKiernan addressed a supplementary question which was ruled out of order, but does not record the actual text of Senator McKiernan's question. Is the purpose of the Senate Hansard to provide a record of senators' contributions in the chamber and, if so, why is a question asked by a senator not recorded if it is subsequently ruled out of order? If there is a logical reason for not recording a question which is out of order, why is not the same procedure followed with disallowed points of order?

The PRESIDENT —My attention has been drawn to Senator Crichton-Browne's ruling—and I take this opportunity to thank Senator Crichton-Browne for standing in for me so ably last week. I am informed that it is longstanding practice going back at least 50 years for Hansard not to record the terms of questions which are ruled by the chair to be out of order. As Senator Colston says, there is no particular rationale for this practice; nor has there been any direction to Hansard from any of my predecessors. The practice is not followed in relation to other matters ruled out of order. The media can report, and the electronic media can show, the terms of the question; thus the continuation of the practice seems unnecessary. I will be recommending to the Procedure Committee that the practice ought to be changed so that Hansard is a full record of proceedings.