House debates

Monday, 18 March 2024



12:01 pm

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—I move:

That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent:

(1) the following from occurring in relation of business in the House for today:

(a) the interruption of government business for Members' statements occurring at 3 pm, rather than 1.30 pm; and

(b) the interruption of Members' statements for question time occurring at 3.30 pm, rather than 2 pm;

(2) the Federation Chamber suspending today at 3 pm, rather than 1.30 pm, and resuming at 5.30 pm, with private Members' business accorded priority in the Federation Chamber being amended as follows:

(a) the time allotted for debate on the motion to be moved by the Member for Cowper being no longer than 35 minutes;

(b) the Federation Chamber continuing to consider private Members' business in the order determined by the Selection Committee until no later than 3 pm, at which point the Federation Chamber being suspended until 5.30 pm;

(c) at 5.30 pm, statements by Members, for no longer than 90 seconds, being called on until 6.15 pm; and

(d) private Members' business accorded priority in the Federation Chamber continuing until 7.30 pm;

(3) the House not meeting on Thursday, 28 March 2024; and

(4) any variation to this arrangement being made only on a motion moved by a Minister.

I will say a few words, just explaining in more ordinary human terms the procedural motion that I just read out. Members will be aware that the funeral of Lance Corporal Jack Fitzgibbon is happening today. Members, both government and opposition, are attending the funeral, and, for that reason, we have wanted to change the time of question time today. So question time doesn't start until 3.30 pm, and, as a result of that, the 90-second statements will start at 3 pm. All the other changes for today, in the Federation Chamber and other, are consequent on the shift of question time for that reason.

The second change is something that goes to Thursday's sitting for next week. It's one of those issues where the different perspectives of people from all around the country can lead to different conclusions. For me, as someone who gets into my car, drives on the M5 and is home back at Punchbowl within three hours at the end of a parliamentary sitting week, the concept of us sitting on Holy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, made no difference to my being able to attend particular events and services on Good Friday. It's a completely different world for regional members, and I want to acknowledge the regional members. Out of respect, I will say this challenge with what that Thursday sitting would mean was first raised with me by some very senior members of the opposition. Conversations have taken place between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. While I may be in the minority in this House, I'd love it if we sat every day. That's how I feel about the chamber. But this does avoid a problem that was going to put some members, particularly regional members, in an impossible position with what the sitting week was like for next week. So I thank those members from the opposition, the crossbench and my own caucus who've raised this with me.

So the two changes, in summary, are that, firstly, question time today is not till 3.30 and 90-second statements will start at three; and secondly, the Thursday sitting which had been scheduled for next week would not occur should this motion be agreed to by the House.

Question agreed to.