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Senate leaves Howard stuck in last century.

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Senate Leaves Howard Stuck in Last Century

The Australian Senate has left John Howard stranded in the last century and, in contrast to the House of Representatives, will have Question Time on Budget day.

To cover up his outrageous decision to cancel question time Mr Howard has imposed a marathon five and half hour condolence motion for the Queen Mother in the House of Representatives tomorrow.

In the Senate a motion of a minute mourning the Queen Mum’s passing will be read, they will break for an hour and then have Question Time (see attached program).

Mr Howard’s dictatorial decision to cancel Question Time has not been followed by the Senate or any other Commonwealth Nation.

Mr Howard has sought to quote precedent for this outrageous action but unfortunately there is none in history or in contemporary practice of other Commonwealth Parliaments.

The story so far….

The deaths of King George V and King George VI, 1936 and 1952 respectively, and Queen Mary in 1953 are previous examples of question time being cancelled.

These events occurred over 50 years ago and the parliament was adjourned for an entire day - not just for question time. There was also only a maximum of three speakers.

British House of Commons Special sitting, 3 April, 2 hours; thirty speakers. No other Government Business. Northern Ireland Assembly Special sitting, 3 April, 39 minutes; 8 speakers. Adjourned for rest of day. Scottish Assembly

Special sitting, 3 April, 21 minutes; 4 speakers. Adjourned for rest of day. Welsh Assembly Special sitting, 4 April, 39 minutes; 10 speakers. Adjourned for rest of day. Canada

Normal sitting day, 8 April, 65 minutes; 10 speakers, ordinary business for rest of day. New Zealand Normal sitting day, 16 April, 5 minutes; 7 speakers, followed immediately by question

time and ordinary business for rest of day.

What is most concerning is that Mr Howard would rather cancel question time on the day the Budget is delivered than face scrutiny about his Government’s appalling record.

Mr Howard should stop hiding behind the Queen Mother’s death and face question time on Budget day.

I have written to Leader of the House Tony Abbott opposing this decision (see attached letter).

ENDS 13 May 2002 Web:

Contact: Wayne Swan on 0418 795 329 Lauren McGregor on 0409 873 501

Wayne Swan MP Manager of Opposition Business Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services