House debates

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Questions to the Speaker

Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Coronavirus and Other Measures) Bill 2020

3:26 pm

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the Arts) Share this | | Hansard source

My question goes to some of the debate on legislation earlier today. I've gone through Practice, and I'm not sure there's a precedent for it, so I'm not sure whether the House needs to take action or not. I'm referring to page 362 of Practice, where it makes clear the impact of what a minister says during the second reading debate. It says:

A second reading speech plays an important role in the legislative process and its contents may be taken into account by the courts in the interpretation of an Act.

Today the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, while we were in a debate on order of the day No. 2, the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Coronavirus and Other Measures) Bill, he gave the minister's speech about a different bill. The speech he gave was about order of the day No. 4, the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Omnibus) Bill. I'm not sure whether this has an impact on the potential interpretation of the act or whether there's anything the House can do to rectify this, but certainly, going through Practice, it appears to be unprecedented. I raise it with you either for advice immediately or to reflect on and report back.

3:27 pm

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the Manager of Opposition Business for raising it and for raising it in the detail that he has so that not just I can consider it but all members of the House have an appreciation. Clearly, as you'd expect, I'll need to consider what's said, examine the material and get back to the House at a suitable point in time. Given it's 28 past three now, it won't be today quite evidently. I'll discuss it with him and other relevant people over the course of the coming days.