Thursday, 18 February 2021
Questions without Notice
I will just say to the Manager of Opposition Business that this is an area of Practice, not the standing orders. Under the Practice, it's a problematic area. I will say that. I will certainly say it's a problematic area. It may well be that that is the intent of the Practicethat a Prime Minister can, as often happens, answer part of the question and refer the rest to the relevant minister or refer the entire answer to the minister. The Manager of Opposition Business has made his point, and that is one part of Practice historically such that if a minister had the detail that the Prime Minister didn't, the House could be provided with our system of questions without notice directly rather than the question automatically being taken on notice. So I understand the point the manager is making. But the other part of Practice is it's unqualified, and that is that the Prime Minister can choose to refer any question to any relevant minister. It is unqualified. So I appreciate the point the manager is making, but nonetheless that doesn't prevent the Prime Minister from referring the question.