Senate debates

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Statement by the President

Questions Without Notice

2:00 pm

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

Senators, yesterday during question time I indicated I would return to the chamber regarding questions directed at representing ministers that did not relate to a public statement, a report or the portfolio responsibilities of a minister in the other place. At the time I said:

A minister cannot have a window into another's soul—

and that—

… to ask a minister about a non-portfolio, non-public-statement matter or about the state of mind of a minister … is inappropriate.

Reflecting on the discussion, past rulings and practice of the chamber, I have determined that such questions can be in order if, in asking the question, a senator asks a representing minister such a question and includes in the question a request for a specific act of the representing minister, such as: if they are not aware of the matter, will they take it on notice, or will they endeavour to raise it with the minister in the other place.