Thursday, 8 September 2022
Procedure Committee; Report
I present the Procedure Committee's second report of 2022 and I move:
That the Senate adopt the recommendation of paragraph 1.10 of the report with effect from the first sitting day in October 2022.
The Procedure Committee has considered a proposal from the government to vary the Senate's hours of meeting and routine of business. The proposal responds in part to a recommendation of the Jenkins review that the houses review their sometimes long and irregular hours to strike a better balance between wellbeing and parliamentary business.
The committee agreed that significant improvements could be made in the Senate by adjourning earlier on Monday nights and a providing additional times when business would proceed on a no divisions basis. These changes reduce the need for senators and staff to attend into the evening unless they are directly involved in the matters being debated. The committee also agreed that sittings should start at 9 am on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Private senators' bills will be dealt with on those mornings, with Monday mornings reverting to government business time.
The committee also recommends procedural changes for matters of public importance and urgency motions so that two such matters may be dealt with each day for 30 minutes each and that these be rostered by informal agreement between party whips and others, rather than being subject to a daily ballot. The motion I have moved would make the relevant amendments to the standing orders effective from October sittings. I commend the report to the Senate.
Question agreed to.