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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3060

Mr HAYDEN (Oxley) (Leader of the Opposition) - I seek your indulgence to ask a question relating to this matter.

Mr SPEAKER -The honourable member may proceed.

Mr HAYDEN - I presume, Mr Speaker, that the terms of reference of the committee will be considered by the Parliament. As you know, I have already written to you to point out that while I recognise what it is you are aiming atthat is, to initiate impartial chairmanship of the affairs of this House, a novelty which many honourable members would welcome -

Government supporters-Oh!

Mr HAYDEN -I have not finished. I welcome this, if it is achievable, because of the difficulties of the present system which I acknowledge. I acknowledge your efforts in this respect, Mr

Speaker,and your efforts in many other respects associated with the procedures of this institution and your endeavours to achieve some sort of reform. If these are to be terms of reference I presume there will be an opportunity for me to move an amendment. I started to say to you that I had communicated to you, pointing out that we see a far greater need to have a comprehensive review of this Parliament- how it functions, the facilities which back it up and so on. There is a crying need for reform of procedures in this House. I have to say, having participated on both sides of the House, that Question Time comes more within the description of a game and has rules more akin to warfare than to the development of legislation or a proper search into matters dealt with by the Parliament. We need a committee system to replace this debating technique. I am giving you an insight, Mr Speaker, into a few of the vast range of concerns which I believe should be attended to by this Parliament if it really wants to drag the Parliament as an effective institution into the last part of the twentieth century in preparation for the next century.

Mr SPEAKER -I gave the Leader of the Opposition my indulgence to speak. I will not reply to the general arguments but to a particular point. The point is that this is a Speaker's committee. The terms of reference have already been established- that is, in terms of the ballot. The Speaker's committee will report to me and, through me, to the House in terms of the successful ballot. Any attitude that the honourable gentleman may have concerning reform of the procedures of this House is a matter which he needs to discuss with the Leader of the House or about which, alternatively, he can move a motion in this House. It is necessary periodically to look at any institution to see whether it is responding fully to contemporary needs. I would welcome such an examination of the procedures of the House although I emphasise that I would see that exercise as different from that exercise now in hand. The matter now in hand is an expression by the members of the Parliament, as members of the Parliament not as members of political parties. I think an examination on a procedural basis would require co-operation on a political basis. If that occurs, I would welcome it. Indeed, I would advocate such an examination, but it is not for me to take any action in relation to it. As the honourable member for Holt said, I am the eyes and the ears. I think I also see for the Parliament.

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