Senate debates

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Questions to the President


2:01 pm

Photo of Sue LinesSue Lines (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to go to the point of order that Senator Birmingham asked me to review yesterday. Whilst I'm not changing my decision, I do think it deserves some clarity. Yesterday I undertook to review a question in the Hansard from Senator Hume to the minister representing the Treasurer, Senator Gallagher, concerning gas prices. The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Birmingham, raised a point of order on direct relevance. I noted that a minister is directly relevant when responding to both the preamble and the specific question. The preamble identified the Treasurer's statement about acting with urgency on gas prices, and the specific question framed the matter around resolving uncertainty in the government policy on gas prices. There was a political frame to the question, and I considered the minister was being directly relevant in exploring the causes and emergence of high gas prices and in returning the political serve in relation to uncertainty in energy prices. It would not have been in order for the minister to focus solely on those matters, given that the question asked about the government's intentions. However, by the time Senator Birmingham rose to take his point of order, the minister had come back to what the government had done and, in doing so, was in order.