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Thursday, 14 February 2008
Page: 385

Mr HAASE (2:32 PM) —Mr Speaker, may I add my congratulations on your election to high office. My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister give me and my constituents a commitment that he will not be a part-time Prime Minister and run a part-time parliament by refusing to front this House on sitting Fridays?

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER —Order! I call the Prime Minister.

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER —I remind members on my right that the Prime Minister has the call.

Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —I thank the honourable member for his question. I responded to one part of his question yesterday, in the response I think I gave to the Leader of the Opposition concerning sitting Fridays. The position of the government is absolutely clear on that. The purpose of sitting Fridays is to ensure that backbenchers in this parliament have an opportunity to bring to the attention of the parliament issues of concern to them in their local communities, such as in the honourable member for Kalgoorlie’s community. My experience as a backbencher in this place is that the opportunities to raise concerns here as a backbencher are limited. Therefore the parliament providing further opportunities of a sitting Friday to do so is an appropriate way forward. We remain committed to that reform. And we would hope that all honourable members, including the honourable member who has asked the question, make appropriate use of that mechanism.