Monday, 23 March 2020
I thank the Manager of Opposition Business for his assistance in settling the terms of this suspension of standing orders. I move:
That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent the following from occurring in relation to business for today:
(1) the Prime Minister to make a ministerial statement, with the Leader of the Opposition to respond;
(2) the Federation Chamber not to meet today;
(3) the business for this sitting to be restricted to bills relating to the Coronavirus Economic Response Package, Supply bills, Question Time, and any other business agreed between a Minister and the Manager of Opposition Business;
(4) presentation and consideration of bills relating to the Coronavirus Economic Response Package to be given priority over all other business until 2 pm;
(5) the provisions of standing order 133 not to apply;
(6) a Minister to present the bills together and the first reading of each bill to be given;
(7) the minister to move one motion that the bills be read a second time, and make a second reading speech;
(8) at the conclusion of the second reading speech, a cognate debate to ensue;
(9) if consideration of the bills and any other business has not concluded by 2 pm, the debate to be interrupted for Question Time;
(10) if consideration of the bills and any other business concludes before 2 pm, the House then to suspend until 2 pm;
(11) immediately following Question Time, business to resume, if required;
(12) when the debate concludes, a Minister to be called to sum up the debate, then without delay the immediate question, or questions, necessary to complete the second reading of the bills to be put;
(13) if the second reading of the bills is agreed to and any Messages from the Governor-General announced, the bills then to be taken as a whole during consideration in detail, if required, for no longer than sixty minutes, with any Government amendments to the bills that have been circulated to be treated as if they have been moved together, any Opposition amendments which have been circulated to be treated as if they had been moved together, and any amendments circulated by non-aligned Members which have been circulated to be treated as if they had been moved together, with:
(a) one question to be put on all the Government amendments;
(b) one question then to be put on any amendments which have been circulated by Opposition Members;
(c) single questions then to be put on any amendments circulated by each non-aligned Member; and
(d) any further questions necessary to complete the remaining stages of the bills to be put without delay;
(14) if consideration in detail is not required, the question on the third reading of the bills to be put immediately after the second readings of the bills and the announcement of any Messages from the Governor-General;
(15) if at 5 pm the second reading debate is still in progress, the debate to be interrupted and all questions necessary to complete consideration of the bills to be put immediately, including the questions on any amendments circulated, as detailed in paragraph 14, above;
(16) following the third readings of the bills, a Minister to introduce three supply bills together and the first reading of each bill to be given, the Minister to move one motion that the bills be read a second time and make a second reading speech;
(17) at the conclusion of the second reading speech a cognate debate to ensue until no later than 7.30 pm, with the immediate question, or questions, necessary to complete the second reading of the bills then to be put and one question on the third reading of the bills then to be put;
(18) other business, if agreed by a Minister and the Manager of Opposition Business, then to ensue;
(19) at the conclusion of any other business, or after Question Time if all business has been disposed of, the Speaker then to suspend the House until the ringing of the bells;
(20) when the sitting resumes any further business relating to the bills or other business agreed by a Minister and the Manager of Opposition Business to ensue and the Speaker then to adjourn the House until a later date and hour to be fixed by the Speaker; and
(21) any variation to this arrangement to be made only by a motion moved by a Minister with leave granted by the Manager of Opposition Business.
I want to thank the Leader of the House for the productive conversations that have led to this. Today is only possible because of cooperation. In acknowledging our support of the suspension motion that's been put forward, I should also acknowledge the cooperation of those who are not here. There are a large number of members of parliament who want to be here today and are not because they understand the circumstances that we're in and the importance of the different distancing measures that are in place. I also want to acknowledge the cooperation from you, Mr Speaker. To save time, I will raise something now and perhaps after we've dealt with the suspension you could deal with it. There has been some question as to whether today people who are not sitting on the front bench should speak from their allocated place—as in the new allocation—or whether they should speak from the ordinary seating plan. If you could clarify that at the end, that would be appreciated.
We might deal with the motion first. The question is that the motion moved by the Leader of the House be agreed to.
Question agreed to.
I thank the Leader of the House and the Manager of Opposition Business for all of their work over the last couple of days. With respect to the seating for social distancing, there's a new seating plan. Members should speak from where they are. Broadcasting has that plan. Just to be very clear: for frontbenchers who are not in their usual seat, if they're in the second or the third row, they should not come to the dispatch box. Only those frontbenchers sitting on the front bench should come to the dispatch box. The additional seats I mentioned that are at the back there—they're normally in the distinguished visitors gallery—are there, really, for the purpose of divisions and in the event that there need to be additional seats and we still maintain that distancing requirement. I hope that clarifies it. If anyone's got any further queries through the course of this morning, please come and ask me.