House debates

Wednesday, 29 February 2012



9:01 am

Photo of Peter SlipperPeter Slipper (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Before I call on government business, I would just like to make some remarks in relation to relevance. I would like to remind honourable members about the operation of the rule relating to relevance. Standing order 76 provides that, in the conduct of debate, a member must speak only on the subject matter of a question under discussion. There are some specific exceptions to the application of the relevance rule. These are:

          With these exceptions, honourable members should ensure their speeches are relevant to the question before the House.

          When the House debates bills cognately, a debate is permitted on the package of bills generally.

          If a member moves an amendment to a motion before the House, including an amendment to the second reading of a bill, the member is considered to be speaking both to the original question and the amendment. All members speaking subsequently speak to the original question and the amendment. Thus the effect of moving an amendment can be to widen the debate to include matters covered by the amendment. However, I note that an amendment must, itself, be relevant to the original question. If a member has spoken to an original question and an amendment is moved, the member can speak again, but must confine any remarks to the amendment.

          During the detail stage of a bill, when amendments are moved, honourable members must confine their remarks to the amendments. It is not permissible to revisit the bill generally when debating the amendments.

          Finally, I remind honourable members that when they move a motion to suspend standing and sessional orders they should confine their remarks to the reasons for the suspension. It is not an opportunity to debate the substantive motion which is the subject of the suspension.

          I table this statement for the information of the House, and copies will be available to honourable members.