Senate debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Questions without Notice

Liberal Party Leadership

2:34 pm

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | Hansard source

Okay. On the first point of order raised by Senator Bernardi, that reference to Odgers, I would contend that the Senate has become, whether it should or not, somewhat more liberal in its application of those provisions since 1986, when I was 13 years old. I might say, having spent time in this building in the nineties, it's become somewhat more liberal over the last 25 years as well. If senators want supplementary questions to not just relate to the question but also relate to the answer given, question time will become very different, and I'm happy to raise this matter with the Procedure Committee. So I'm not going to uphold your point of order, Senator Bernardi, given the custom and practice for the last decade has been that the questions must relate to the primary question, not the answer as well.

On the second point of order, relating to the capacity of the minister to answer for a minister they represent, I am of the view a minister can be asked about statements their representational minister gave, statements or actions of a minister they represent, or policies in the portfolio of a minister that they represent. A minister cannot have a window into another's soul. Quite frankly, to ask a minister about a non-portfolio, non-public-statement matter or about the state of mind of a minister that they are representing is inappropriate. The earlier question to Senator Fierravanti-Wells was in order because it was directed at Senator Fierravanti-Wells as a minister in the government. This question is fundamentally different. Senator O'Neill, do you have a final supplementary question on this matter, given what I've just said?


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