House debates

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Hansard: Incorporation of Speeches

3:46 pm

Photo of Harry JenkinsHarry Jenkins (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I have a statement to make about incorporation of speeches. As I understand it, this matter was raised with the Deputy Speaker by the member for Hughes earlier this day. The longstanding practice of the House has been that Hansard should only contain speeches actually made. I refer members to the House of Representatives Practice pages 490-93. I am aware of at least one occasion in particular, when it seemed to be the will of the House to allow speeches to be incorporated. It appears from the record that, on that occasion, the Speaker may not have been involved. My position is that there is indeed much to commend the requirement that Hansard should contain only those speeches which members actually make. The House is already subject to criticism for the lack of true exchange or engagement in debate. It would seem to me that while the incorporation of unread speeches would allow members to let their views be recorded, such action would not be consistent with the aims of ensuring that there was as much engagement and exchange as possible in proceedings and of ensuring that Hansard remain a record of what was actually said in the chamber. Additionally, I am concerned that those members who speak from notes, or without notes, would be totally disadvantaged.