Thursday, 4 February 2016
Answers to Questions on Notice
Question No. 2646
Mr Deputy President, under standing order 74(5)(a), I seek an explanation from the Minister for Education and Training, Senator Birmingham, as to why question No. 2646, which I placed on notice on 30 November 2015, remained unanswered prior to question time today.
I can inform the Senate that the question has been answered and the answer was tabled today. I do, however, on behalf of the Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, apologise to the Senate and to Senator O'Neill that it was not delivered within the usual time frame.
Senator O'Neill, given that the question has now been answered, I am not sure you can take note of that response. It is simply a matter of the minister informing the Senate that the question has indeed been answered. But you are on your feet and I will listen to whatever you have got to say.
I checked very carefully with the tabling officer before question time to make sure the answer was not there, and I have come prepared to speak to this. The question was tabled on 30 November. The answer was due on 30 December. It arrived after the minister was advised by my office, as a courtesy prior to question time, that I would moving in this direction. I think it is an exploitation of the goodwill of the Senate—
Thank you. We are probably now moving to debating that. I take the minister's word that the question has been answered, so that is the end of that matter as far as I am concerned. If that is not correct, that will be a matter for some discussion, I am sure, on another day. But the minister has assured the chamber that the question has been answered, and therefore, as far as I am concerned, that is the end of that matter.