Senate debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Statement by the President

Points of Order

2:01 pm

Photo of Slade BrockmanSlade Brockman (President) Share this | Hansard source

We will move to question time now. We are starting a minute-and-a-half late. I also note that I said yesterday that I'd come back to the Senate in relation to points of order taken by Senators Whish-Wilson and McKim in relation to matters raised in question time. I reiterate the point that I made at the time, which is that I considered the minister's answer to be directly relevant to the questions asked. I do not see it as my role as President to interpret a question as narrowly as the questioner might wish in circumstances in which the minister—and, in particular, a minister in a representative capacity—is talking directly about the government's intentions or actions in respect of the matter raised. This falls squarely within the principle that a president cannot direct a minister how to answer questions.

In answering the primary question, the minister discussed the government's provision of additional funding to enhance the management of the Great Barrier Reef in the face of several issues, including the specific matter raised. By speaking further about the scope and aims of the funding, the minister remained relevant to the question asked, even though senators may have preferred that the minister provide a different response.


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