House debates

Monday, 15 June 2020


Procedure Committee

10:04 am

Photo of Ross VastaRoss Vasta (Bonner, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

As the Chair of the Standing Committee on Procedure, today I want to give a brief update on our inquiry into practices and procedures relating to question time. Questions without notice have always been a feature of the House. However, it wasn't until 1950 that they were recognised in the standing orders or included in the order of business. Question time now is one of the most visible parts of the parliamentary day. It has evolved over time to play an important part in the House's role in keeping the government of the day accountable and keeping the public informed, but the feedback that we have been hearing is that question time is not always playing this role as well as it could be.

As a committee, our job is to consider the practices and procedures of the House and see whether there are changes that we can recommend to help the House carry out this important function. We started our inquiry with a public survey. It had more than 3,000 responses, and I would like to once again thank everyone who took the time to have their say. This has given us great insights into where people see opportunities for change, along with some practical suggestions for specific changes. We've also met with many of our parliamentary colleagues to hear their views and suggestions. We will be exploring the ideas and hearing more ideas, I'm sure, over the coming months.

Our next phase of evidence gathering is to hold public hearings. We began with our first public hearings by teleconference last week when two former speakers of the House and other expert witnesses gave us their valuable perspectives and insights. We are looking forward to hearing more from witnesses in the coming months. If you want to tune into our hearings, all the details will be available on the APH website as each hearing is scheduled.