House debates

Monday, 5 September 2022


Sessional Orders

3:30 pm

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | Hansard source

That was a valiant defence of the sessional order the opposition voted against. That's what we just had. The Manager of Opposition Business is right that the sessional order presumes we'll get through 22 questions, which most of the time we used to when we got to the normal finishing time of 10 past three. What has happened this term is, because the only question they feel is at stake is the crossbench question, they take point of order after point of order to slow everything down and they don't lose a question. It has always actually been a natural restraint on oppositions that you would feel, if you kept the points of order going, you were going to lose a question at the other end. That would cause oppositions to hold back. On this occasion what they've done is decide, 'Well, it's only the crossbench that's at stake, therefore we'll do points of order.' We had four on one question today.

The impact of this will be really simple. If the number of points of order goes back to normal, the opposition will get all the questions that they had every right to expect. But effectively what this change to the sessional order does is say the commitment that was publicly given to the crossbench that they would get three questions is what will ordinarily now occur. That's what this says—and it says, for the commitments that were made to the opposition, it's very much up to you. There is only one reason we're getting through so few questions, and that's in the hands of the Manager of Opposition Business.


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