The hung Parliament: the first year

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The hung Parliament: the first year

Posted 12/10/2011 by Janet Wilson

On 7 September 2010 an agreement was formulated between the ALP, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor which, together with other agreements, gave the Labor Party the support it needed to form a minority government. A major component of the agreement with Mr Oakeshott and Mr Windsor was an annex, Agreement for a Better Parliament: Parliamentary Reform, which was negotiated by the ALP, the Coalition and the independents. The Agreement for a Better Parliament identified a range of changes to House of Representatives procedure and practice, many of which were subsequently implemented through changes to the House of Representatives Standing Orders.
The Parliamentary Library has recently released a paper, The hung Commonwealth Parliament: the first year, which provides coverage of selected procedural changes during the first year of the operation of the House of Representatives in the 43rd Parliament. Matters covered include the establishment of the Selection Committee, the Speakership, acknowledgement of country, changes in Question Time, private members’ bills and business, pairs, divisions, and suspensions. The paper also chronicles related developments including changes in the committee system, the Parliamentary Budget Office, and the Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner.

The paper provides a range of statistical information relating to the work of the 43rd Parliament over its first year including the following:

• 158 bills passed both Houses
• The House of Representatives divided 172 times, with the Government losing twenty of these votes
• Time devoted to private members’ business in the House of Representatives more than doubled in comparison with the first year of the 42nd Parliament
• The number of suspensions in the House of Representatives increased by 38 per cent compared with the first year of the 42nd Parliament
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