Thursday, 12 November 2015
Questions to the President
Standing Orders 72(2) and 203
by leave—Mr President, I have a question of you pursuant to standing order 72(2) in relation to the discussion in question time in relation to standing order 203. In question time today, Mr President, you purported to invite the Leader of the Government in the Senate to move a motion, pursuant to standing order 203, prior to Senator Conroy being called upon to make an explanation or an apology. I would invite you to read the standing order and pages 269 and 270 of Odgers.
Senator Ian Macdonald interjecting—
I would invite you to consider the provisions of the standing order. My question to you is whether or not in fact that was the appropriate procedure. My suggestion, for consideration by the President, is that the procedure was not properly followed. I am sure you would like time to review the matter and we look forward to your response.
Senator Wong, I do not need to review the matter. You are correct. I actually got the standing order provision correct in the actual infringement of order, under 203. The correct procedure would be for me to first of all invite Senator Conroy to apologise, and then invite the Leader of the Government in the Senate, if I did not accept that apology—
or anyone, but normally it is the Leader of the Government in the Senate, to then move that motion. The outcome is not different—so the outcome would have been the same. However, I do accept—you are absolutely correct—that I got the order wrong. However, this is the first time, I think, in 10 years that that has been invoked, and that is the only provision that the President has—and you can imagine me being very rusty with that provision, having never used it at all before. And I hope I never have to use it again. Thank you, Senator Wong.