The hung Commonwealth Parliament: the first year

7 October 2011

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Politics and Public Administration Section

Contents 

Introduction

House of Representatives practice and procedure

The Selection Committee and referral of bills

Referral of bills by the Selection Committee for inquiry and report

The Speaker

Acknowledgement of country

Question Time

Determining ‘relevance’ in ministers’ answers

Supplementary questions

Share of questions from independents

Points of order in Question Time

Private members’ bills and business

Private members’ bills

Private members’ motions and speeches

Adjournment debates, 90 second statements and constituency statements

Pairs

Divisions

Suspensions

Ministerial statements

Recommittal of votes

Committees

Resources of the Parliament

Parliamentary Budget Office

Other matters

Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner

Code of Conduct

Register of Lobbyists

Commentary on the hung Parliament

Appendix 1: Agreement for a Better Parliament

Appendix 2: Concordance of procedural changes

Appendix 3: Private members’ Bills initiated in the House of Representatives 


 

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Mr David Elder, Deputy Clerk of the House of Representatives, and the staff of the Chamber Research Office, Department of the House of Representatives, for their invaluable assistance in the preparation of this Background Note.

Introduction

The 2010 election, held on 21 August, was called early and under the unusual circumstance of a recent change in the leadership of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and therefore the Prime Minister. The election resulted in a hung Parliament, with both the ALP and the Liberal/Nationals Coalition emerging with 72 seats each in the House of Representatives.[1] The remaining seats were held by one WA Nationals member (Tony Crook); one Australian Greens member (Adam Bandt); and four non-aligned independent members (Bob Katter, Rob Oakeshott, Andrew Wilkie, and Tony Windsor).

It was clear that neither the ALP nor the Coalition had sufficient numbers to give either a majority in the House of Representatives after providing a Speaker (76 seats); both of the major parties therefore commenced negotiations with the six ‘other’ members soon after the election in order to gain sufficient support to form government.

The first agreement, reached on 1 September 2010, was between the Australian Greens and the ALP, in which the Greens pledged to vote with the Government to ensure supply and to oppose any motion of no confidence in the Government not proposed by the Greens.[2] The following day, on 2 September, agreement was reached between the independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, and the ALP, in which Mr Wilkie also undertook to vote with the Government to ensure supply and to oppose any motion of no confidence in the Government not moved or seconded by him.[3]

The final agreement, between the ALP and two of the three remaining independents, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, was announced at a press conference and was signed on 7 September 2010. This gave the ALP the support it needed to form a minority government. In common with the other agreements, Mr Oakeshott and Mr Windsor pledged to vote with the Government to ensure supply and to oppose any motion of no confidence in the Government not moved or seconded by them.[4]

A major component of the agreement with Mr Oakeshott and Mr Windsor was a ten-page annex entitled Agreement for a better Parliament: Parliamentary Reform (‘the Agreement’), which was negotiated between the Coalition, the ALP and the independents. The proposals in the Agreement, together with some proposals from the Greens and Mr Wilkie, have formed the basis of the procedural changes in the House of Representatives in the 43rd Parliament; most of these changes were implemented via amendments to the Standing Orders on 29 September 2010 (the second sitting day of the 43rd Parliament), and on 19 and 20 October 2010.

This paper provides coverage of selected procedural changes during the first year of the operation of the House of Representatives in the 43rd Parliament, together with a range of statistics relating to the work of the House.[5] A concordance table providing an overview of procedural changes is attached at Appendix 2. A glossary explaining many of the parliamentary and procedural terms used in this paper is available on the Parliament House website.[6]

House of Representatives practice and procedure

The Selection Committee and referral of bills

The first item listed on the Agreement was concerned with the (re) establishment of a Selection Committee, chaired by the Speaker, to facilitate private members’ engagement across all parliamentary business.[7] The amendments to the Standing Orders of 29 September 2010 provided for the establishment of the Selection Committee with a more expansive role, including the selection and referral of bills to the relevant standing or joint committee (bills may still be referred to committees by the House or a Minister under Standing Order 215(b), or in the case of joint committees, also by a resolution of the Senate).The Selection Committee in the 43rd Parliament operates under Standing Order 222.[8]

The bill referral process requires the Selection Committee to identify bills regarded as ‘controversial or requiring further consultation or debate’ and refer them ‘immediately... to the relevant Standing or Joint Committee’. The declaration by ‘one member ... will be sufficient to declare a Bill controversial’.[9]

The Selection Committee appears to have operated effectively and with strong bi-partisan support. The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Procedure has noted that the Selection Committee ‘has been refining its practices and procedures’ and has ‘adopted general principles to guide its allocation of priorities regarding private Members’ business’.[10] The Clerk of the House of Representatives has suggested that , notwithstanding the benefits of having the Speaker chair the Committee, it might be useful to ‘reflect on the desirability of the Speaker being a step removed from the arrangements and negotiations about the scheduling of business, decisions about referral of bills to committees and so on’.[11]

Referral of bills by the Selection Committee for inquiry and report

Prior to the current Parliament, inquiries into bills by House of Representatives committees had not been a significant feature of committee work. Between October 2010 and August 2011, reports were produced by committees on 34 bills, with an average inquiry time of around 35 days per bill.[12] Typically, a bill inquiry seems to take between 40 and 50 days, although on rare occasions a bill inquiry may extend over several months.[13]

When the new arrangements became operational in the 43rd Parliament, it was the practice of the Selection Committee to nominate a reporting date by which the committee inquiring into a bill would report. By 2011 that practice had changed to one whereby the Selection Committee no longer specified a reporting date, enabling the committee to which the bill was referred to set its own reporting deadline.

The standing committees to which bills are referred are obliged to provide an advisory report to the House. Typically this is a written report, but on occasions a committee chair has, by leave, made a statement to the House instead.[14]

Some of the issues attending the bill referral, inquiry and reporting process have included the desirability of explanations for the referral of bills by the Selection Committee and the potential for the duplication of bill inquiries being undertaken by other committees (e.g. Senate committees).[15] These and related matters have been considered by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Procedure, which has stated that:

Whatever the Senate and its committees choose to do with items of proposed legislation should not in any way inhibit the House Selection Committee’s determinations in referring bills ... Where inquiries into the same item(s) of legislation are being run concurrently by House and Senate committees, some committees are already adopting measures to reduce perceptions of duplication and to minimise the requirement for witnesses to provide comparable evidence to two different committees.[16]

The Procedure Committee has also noted the increased workload experienced by some committees as a result of the greater numbers of bills inquiries, and has suggested that this could be factored-in to the referral process together with a level of direction regarding the focus of bills inquiries.[17] The Procedure Committee has also recommended the amendment of Standing Order 222:

… to remove the provision that one member of the Selection Committee is sufficient to select a bill for referral to a House or joint committee for advisory report—thereby requiring a majority decision of the Committee—and to require that the Committee provide reasons for the referral of bills to committees.[18]

The Speaker

The Agreement required that ‘[t]he role of the Speaker will be independent of Government’ and that a party-aligned Speaker would be matched with a Deputy Speaker from an ‘alternate political party’. The Agreement also required that the Speaker and Deputy Speaker would not attend their party rooms, be paired for all divisions when in the Chair, and not vote on private members’ business.[19] Harry Jenkins (ALP) and the Hon Peter Slipper (LIB) were elected Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively on 28 September 2010 (Mr Slipper was nominated for the Deputy Speakership by the Government).[20]

Following his election the Speaker stated that ‘I have, as demanded by the parliamentary reform document, put myself in self-imposed exile from the federal parliamentary Labor Party’.[21] In a statement prior to his election as Deputy Speaker, Mr Slipper stated that he ‘would be happy to serve the Parliament as Deputy Speaker but certainly not on the basis of pairing my vote or guaranteeing confidence and supply to the Government’.[22] Following his election Mr Slipper also stated that he ‘[had] not given any commitments with respect to my role as Deputy Speaker’.[23] The Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Tony Abbott, indicated that Mr Slipper would ‘vote as a normal member of this parliament in the normal proceedings of this parliament’ and also stated that the Opposition did not support the pairing of the Speaker specified in the Agreement; the pairing arrangements did not eventuate.[24]

In essence, the role (and impartiality) of the Speaker has not changed, although the importance of the Speakership has gained greater prominence due to the finely-balanced nature of the hung Parliament. This was illustrated on 31 May 2011 when the Speaker named a member during Question Time but the ensuing vote on suspension was resolved in the negative.[25] As this in effect constituted a vote of no confidence in the Speaker, the Speaker stated that he would ‘tak[e] the time to consider [his] position’.[26] A motion that the House of Representatives had confidence in Mr Jenkins’ Speakership was immediately moved by the Mr Abbott and passed by the House.[27]

Acknowledgement of country

Standing Order 38 was amended on 29 September to incorporate the following words to be read by the Speaker at the start of each sitting day before the usual prayers:

I acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples who are the traditional custodians of the Canberra area and pay respect to the elders, past and present, of all Australia’s Indigenous peoples.[28]

The first occasion on which this was used was 30 September 2010. With the exception of Western Australia, and now Victoria, all other Australian parliaments make an acknowledgement of country at some time in the parliamentary year; Victoria discontinued the practice for the first sitting day in 2011.

Question Time

The Agreement sought to impose time limits for questions (45 seconds) and answers (four minutes), and these were introduced in the amendments to Standing Orders passed by the House on 28 September 2010.[29]

The introduction of the four minute time limit to answers reduced the average length of answers from 3 minutes 37 seconds in the previous parliament to 3 minutes 5 seconds in the first year of the 43rd Parliament.[30] The limit to the duration of questions to 45 seconds, has, in practice, had ‘little impact on the length of questions by government or opposition Members’.[31] The Procedure Committee’s review of the changes observed that:

The time limit has had little impact on the length of answers to opposition Members‘ questions. It has had a greater impact on the long-standing practice of ministers to give longer answers to government questions than to questions by opposition and non- aligned Members. In the 42nd Parliament, the average length of answers to questions from government Members was 4 minutes 52 seconds, compared to 2 minutes 23 seconds for non-government questions. The time limits have resulted in a more balanced distribution of time, with the average length of answers to government questions now 3 minutes 33 seconds, compared to 2 minutes 34 seconds for answers to questions by opposition and non-aligned Members.[32]

Determining ‘relevance’ in ministers’ answers

The Agreement proposed changes to Standing Orders requiring ministers’ answers to questions without notice to be ‘directly relevant’ to the question. [33] The Agreement also urged the Speaker to ‘lead on enforcement of the relevance test’ and declared that the Government and Opposition ‘will support the Speaker in taking a strong stance on this issue’.[34]

Standing Order 104 was amended on 29 September 2010 in relation to relevance as follows:

(a) An answer must be directly relevant to the question.

(b) A point of order regarding relevance may be taken only once in respect of each answer.

(c) The duration of each answer is limited to 4 minutes.

Hitherto the requirement had been for answers to be ‘relevant to the question’—meaning ‘relevant in some way or relevant in part, rather than directly or completely relevant’, with the result that ‘provided the answer is relevant and is not couched in unparliamentary language Ministers may virtually answer questions without notice in any way they choose’.[35] The issue of relevance has been considered by the House of Representatives Procedure Committee on more than one occasion in the past.

Early in the 43rd Parliament the Speaker made a distinction between direct answers and answers that are directly relevant, and this distinction has continued.[36] In assessing the relevance of ministers’ answers, the Speaker has also ruled that the introduction of argument is unacceptable.[37] In its 2011 submission to the Procedure Committee’s review of procedural changes in the House, the Opposition expressed the view that argument had ‘increasingly … crept back into answers’.[38] The Opposition also noted that ‘[o]ne way to address the relevance issue is to extend the same requirements on answers as exists with questions ... Speaker Jenkins has also stated his support for such a change’.[39]

The Speaker has indeed suggested that ‘if the standing orders had been changed whereby the same rules applied to answers that applied to questions, especially about debate, I think the point about ‘direct relevance’ might have been solved’.[40] In February 2011 the Speaker reiterated this view.[41] The Procedure Committee has ‘note[d] the Speaker‘s preference to amend standing orders to apply the same rules to questions and answers’.[42]

Supplementary questions

The Agreement proposed that ‘the Leader of the Opposition or their delegate has the option of asking one supplementary question during each Question Time’.[43] The Procedure Committee has noted that supplementary questions, although provided for in the Standing Orders, had not been asked since 1998.[44] The first supplementary question in the 43rd Parliament was asked on 29 September 2010.[45]

On 20 October 2010, the Speaker noted that the amendments to Standing Orders did not cover supplementary questions. These, he said, would be ‘handled as matter of practice’.[46] The Speaker outlined his approach to supplementary questions:

I will apply the following criteria: they need not be asked by the member who has asked the original question and may be asked either by the Leader of the Opposition or a member who appears to have been delegated by the Leader of the Opposition to ask the question, and I note that a supplementary question may be asked by a member other than the member who has asked the original question in a number of other jurisdictions; they should not contain any preamble; and they must arise out of, and refer to, the answer that has been given to the original question.[47]

In the first year of the 43rd Parliament the opposition asked 64 supplementary questions out of 68 occasions on which Question Time has taken place.[48] The Speaker’s reasons for disallowing supplementary questions indicate that ‘[w]ith no recent practice to refer to, and only limited guidance from the Agreement and the standing orders’, implementation is still in its early stages.[49]

On 20 October 2010 the Speaker disallowed a supplementary question by the Shadow Treasurer, the Hon Joe Hockey, which was based on a Government member’s question to the Treasurer. The Speaker made the following statement:

... it is something that a mature house in other jurisdictions is able to accommodate and maybe sometime down the track, when others besides the leader of the Opposition and his delegate can ask supplementaries, it is something that we should consider, because it would lead to a much more lively question time.[50]

The Speaker also indicated that ‘another opportunity to ask a supplementary question would not be granted where an earlier attempt had been ruled out of order’.[51]

Share of questions from independents

The non-aligned members now comprise four per cent of all members, compared with two per cent in the 42nd Parliament; in that Parliament they asked two per cent of the questions without notice. The allocation of the call in Question Time is an informal matter, so the request in the Agreement for a proportionate share of questions did not require any amendment to Standing Orders.[52] Recent figures provided by the Chamber Research Office show that in the 43rd Parliament the non-aligned members have asked six per cent of the questions, somewhat more than their proportionate share.

Points of order in Question Time

The Agreement sought to limit points of order on relevance to one per question; Standing Order 104(b) was introduced on 28 September 2010 to deal with this matter.[53] Chamber Research Office statistics for Question Time in the first year of this Parliament show that the average number of points of order raised in Question Time has dropped from 10.7 in the 42nd Parliament to 7.7 in the 43rd Parliament.

Private members’ bills and business

As noted above, the Agreement provided for the establishment of a Selection Committee, chaired by the Speaker, to facilitate private members’ engagement across all parliamentary business. The Agreement also proposed changes to Standing Orders to give priority to private members’ business from the conclusion of committee and delegation business each Monday.[54] In addition, the Agreement required the Speaker, the Leader of the House, and the Selection Committee to ensure that time would be allowed for debate and votes on private members’ bills during Government Business time in the Main Chamber.[55]

These reforms were intended to raise the profile of private members’ business and address the increased likelihood that a private members’ bill could be passed by the House even without the support of government. As the Clerk of the House of Representatives has observed, ‘[e]ach sitting Monday has become a focal point for the renewed interest in private members’ business.’[56] The amount of time allowed in the Standing Orders for private members’ business in the House increased significantly as shown in Table 1 below.[57]


Table 1: Time allowed under standing orders for private members’ business

Agreement provisions

42nd Parliament

43rd Parliament

Time for private Members’ business in House

1 hr

3 hrs 30 mins

Time for private Members’ business in Main Committee

1 hr 35 mins

5 hrs

Time for adjournment debates in the Chamber on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

2 hrs

3 hrs 30 mins

Opportunities for 90 second statements moved from Main Committee on Mondays to Chamber on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

15 mins

45 mins

(15 mins per day)

Time for Matters of Public Importance: an extra 30 mins on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, scheduled to follow Question Time and presentation of documents

1 hr

1 hr 30 mins

Total maximum time available for participation by private Members in the House and Main Committee

10 hrs 20 mins

19 hrs 45 mins

Source: HRSCP, Interim Report: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament, op. cit., Ch. 3.

The total time used for private members’ business in the first year amounted to 170 hours and 52 minutes. This compared with 77 hours and seven minutes in the first year of the previous parliament. In addition, other opportunities for private members, including adjournment, grievance debates and debates on Address in Reply, amounted to 112 hours and nine minutes compared with 89 hours and 54 minutes in the previous parliament. As illustrated in Figure 1 below, the overall time used for private members’ business represented around one-fifth of the total business conducted in the House.[58]


Figure 1: Business conducted in the House of Representatives, first year of the 43rd Parliament

Figure 1: Business conducted in the House of Representatives, first year of the 43rd Parliament 

Source: courtesy of the Chamber Research Office.

Private members’ bills

A total of 158 bills were passed by the 43rd Parliament in its first year. Twenty-eight private members’ bills were initiated in the House over the period including 11 bills introduced to the Senate as parallel bills (see list at Appendix 3). One bill passed into legislation: the Evidence Amendment (Journalists’ Privilege) Bill 2011 was introduced to the House of Representatives by independent Andrew Wilkie on 18 October 2010 and assented to on 12 April 2011.

Before this, the most recent private members’ bills to receive assent were introduced to the Senate in the 41st Parliament—the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction and the Regulation of Human Embryo Research Amendment Bill 2006 and the Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial responsibility for approval of RU486) Bill 2005 [2006] (the latter bill’s success was the result of the first cross-party sponsorship in the history of the Australian parliament).[59] The most recent private member’s bill initiated in the House of Representatives and enacted (and not attracting a conscience vote) was the Adelaide Airport Curfew Bill 1999.[60]

The 28 private members’ bills represent 11 per cent of the total number of bills presented to the House in the first year of the 43rd Parliament, and compares with six private members’ bills initiated in the House during the first year of the previous parliament.[61] Of the 28 private members’ bills initiated in the House, 13 were introduced by a Liberal member (including four by the Leader of the Opposition), seven by independent members, five by the Greens member, one by a Nationals member, and two were co-sponsored by members from more than one party: one by Liberal, National and independent members, and one by Greens, Liberal and ALP members. Details of individual bills, including the initiating member, are at Appendix 3.

In previous parliaments, private members’ bills were only occasionally debated and, even then, usually not voted on. Whilst very few private bills were passed by both Houses, some significant proposals have become law in the past as a result of private senators’ and members’ initiatives. Compulsory voting at federal elections, for example, ‘was introduced as a result of Senator Payne’s Electoral (Compulsory Voting) Act 1924’, and ‘[t]he banning of tobacco advertising in the print media was achieved through Senator Powell’s Smoking and Tobacco Products Advertisements (Prohibition) Act 1989’.[62] Since 1901, there have been 18 private members’ and senators’ bills successfully passed into legislation.

Private members’ motions and speeches

As a result of the Agreement, the Government has set aside Thursday mornings for voting on items of private members’ business which have been recommended by the Selection Committee to be voted on. A total of 181 private members’ motions were lodged in the first year (excluding private members’ bills), as illustrated in the following table:

Table 2: Number of motions lodged

Private Members’ motions lodged by party

First year of 43rd Parliament

Australian Greens

12

Australian Labor Party

106

Country Liberal Party

1

Independent

6

Liberal Party of Australia

45

The Nationals

10

The Nationals WA

1

Total

181

Source: courtesy of the Chamber Research Office.

Of these, 135 were moved and debated (and 52 voted upon), representing more than double the number of private members’ motions (60) moved and debated in the first year of the previous parliament.[63] In addition, private members gave 627 speeches during the first year of the 43rd Parliament. This is almost double the number of speeches (319) given in the first year of the previous parliament.[64]

Adjournment debates, 90 second statements and constituency statements

The additional time now devoted to private members’ business in both Chambers has had a marked effect on the number of members able to speak in Adjournment debates and make 90-second and constituency statements. The table below compares the number of speeches made in the first year of the 42nd Parliament (69 sitting days), with the first year of this Parliament (71 sitting days):

Table 3: Number of speeches

Private Members’ Speeches

42nd Parliament (2008)
69 sitting days

43rd Parliament to date
71 sitting days

Occurrences

Number

Occurrences

Number

Adjournment
(House and Main Committee)

75

522

76

757

90 second statements

14

139

51

496

Members’ constituency statements

47

483

60

633

Total

 

1144

 

1886

Source: courtesy of the Chamber Research Office.

Pairs

The Agreement referred to pairing arrangements for members as follows:

Additional mechanisms will be considered that responsibly deal with essential absences by Members from the House, including ‘pairs’.

The Government and Opposition will guarantee a ‘pair’ to non-aligned Members providing there are reasonable grounds.

These arrangements may be similar to those that currently occur between the Whips in the Senate.[65]

On 29 September 2010 the Leader of the House, the Hon Anthony Albanese, noted that not all reforms contained in the Agreement were suitable for implementation through Standing Orders. Mr Albanese stated that these sorts of reforms:

... will require development through cooperation and practice. Indeed one of the contentious issues, the issue of pairing—whether it be pairing of the Speaker or pairing between members—has always been a matter of practice and is not reflected in standing orders. We believe that it is unfortunate that the opposition walked away from the commitment they signed up to, which was that the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker be paired in this House.[66]

Pairs have not been reported in only four divisions out of a total of 172 divisions in the first year of the 43rd Parliament.[67] Pairing arrangements have been contentious on a number of occasions and in relation to a number of specific issues, including the Government’s Clean Energy bills. The Leader of the Opposition stated that ‘[o]nly in the most extraordinary circumstances will pairs be offered for the carbon tax vote’.[68]

Divisions

The number of divisions in the first year of the 43rd Parliament is similar to the total for the first year of the 42nd Parliament (172 and 168 respectively). A significant feature is the number of divisions lost by the Government, although most of these (13 of the 20) have been on what could be described as procedural matters. There have been no defeats on any stages of Government bills. The table below lists the types of votes the Government has lost in this Parliament:

Table 4: Divisions lost by the Government in the first year of the 43rd Parliament

Divisions lost by Government (includes one division where the Speaker used his casting vote to vote with the Opposition)

 

20

Comprising:

 

 

Closure of member

10

 

Closure of debate

1

 

Private members’ motions

3

 

Private member’s bill – 2R (includes one recommittal under SO 132)

2

 

Extension of time to member

2

 

Amendments to Standing Orders

1

 

SSO to allow Leader of House to make statement

1

 

Divisions where Government was outvoted but where Standing Orders require an absolute majority

 

5

Divisions won by Government (includes two divisions where the Speaker used his casting vote to vote with the Government and includes one tied vote)

 

147

Total number of divisions

 

172

Source: Figures compiled by the Politics and Public Administration Section.

Of continuing interest are the voting patterns in divisions of the four independent members along with Tony Crook (WA Nationals) and Adam Bandt (Australian Greens). The following summary table records their votes:

Table 5: Independents’ voting patterns in the first year of the 43rd Parliament

With

Government

With

Opposition

Against both Government and Opposition

Paired

Absent

Total

Mr Bandt

148

18

1

4

1

172

Mr Crook

25

137

1

 

9

172

Mr Katter

49

45

-

 

78

172

Mr Oakeshott

136

28

1

 

7

172

Mr Wilkie

145

26

1

 

0

172

Mr Windsor

129

27

1

 

15

172

Source: Figures compiled by the Politics and Public Administration Section.

Suspensions

During the first year of the 43rd Parliament members were suspended from the House of Representatives on 85 occasions. Over the first year of the 42nd Parliament there were 60 suspensions. The first year of the 43rd Parliament, therefore, saw 25 more suspensions than the first year of the previous Parliament—an increase of 42 per cent.

The vast majority of suspensions in both periods were for one hour under Standing Order 94(a) (see Table 6 below). Most occurred during Question Time (72 per cent during the first year of the previous Parliament and 94 per cent during first year of the current Parliament).

Coalition members accounted for the largest group, and proportion, of suspensions in both periods. Coalition members were suspended on 59 out of 60 occasions (98 per cent) in the first year of the 42nd Parliament and 76 out of 85 occasions (89 per cent) during the first year of the 43rd Parliament. The ALP’s proportion increased from one (0.2 per cent) to eight (9 per cent).


Table 6: Number of suspensions by suspension type and party for the first year of the 42nd and 43rd Parliaments[69]

Party

94(a) 1 hour

1 day or more

Total

First year of the 42nd Parliament

Liberal

53

4

57

 

Nationals

1

1

2

 

ALP

1

0

1

 

Independents

0

0

0

 

Total

55

5

60

First year of the 43rd Parliament

Liberal

69

1

70

 

Nationals

5

1

6

 

ALP

8

0

8

 

Independents

1

0

1

 

Greens

0

0

0

 

Total

83

2

85

Source: Figures compiled by the Politics and Public Administration Section.

Ministerial statements

The Agreement called for Ministerial statements and responses to be limited to 10 minutes. It also called for the Speaker to provide proportionate opportunities for non-Government members to respond to Ministerial Statements.[70] So far in the 43rd Parliament 30 ministerial statements have been made, and speeches in response to them have been made by the Greens member and the four independent members, as well, of course, by members of the major parties.

Recommittal of votes

Further to the Agreement an amendment to Standing Order 132 was moved by the Leader of the House on 29 September 2010 to allow for a vote to be repeated where a division has miscarried through misadventure, where a member was accidentally absent. This proposed change was further amended by the Opposition requiring that standing orders be suspended to enable the recommittal of a vote.[71] In the first year of the 43rd Parliament the only instance of a vote being recommitted was on 10 February 2011 when the Leader of the House moved a suspension of Standing Orders (agreed to without a division) to enable the repetition of the vote on a private member’s bill due to an Opposition member’s illness and non-attendance at the first division.

Committees

The Agreement specified a reduction in the number of general purpose House of Representatives standing committees and the number of members on each committee. It also provided that the Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts and Audit be a non-aligned member or be drawn from a non-Government party.[72]

The Agreement also sought to ensure that committee reports were given serious and timely consideration, especially where committees recommended action by governments. In September 2010 a six-month timeframe for government responses to committee reports was adopted by the House, with a requirement for an explanatory statement if the timeframe was not complied with and a requirement that minsters (or their representatives) make themselves available to the relevant committee to answer questions regarding the explanatory statement.[73]

In addition to a six monthly schedule of outstanding government responses tabled by the Speaker, the first Notice Paper of each sitting fortnight contains a list of those reports awaiting a response by government, and an indication of whether the report has been made within the six month period, and if not, whether a ministerial statement has been tabled.

Implementation of these reforms has reduced the number of standing committees from 12 in the previous parliament to nine. The number of positions per committee has also been reduced from 10 permanent members (six government and four non-government) to seven permanent members (four government and three non-government) with an added provision that if a non-aligned member is appointed to a committee, the total membership is increased to eight. Membership of the standing committees still reflects the party membership of the House. To accommodate participation by members in inquiries of particular interest, the Standing Orders ‘now allow for up to four supplementary members (two government and two non-government or non-aligned members) per inquiry’.[74] The nine current House of Representatives general purpose standing committees are:

  • Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs
  • Standing Committee on Agriculture, Resources, Fisheries and Forestry
  • Standing Committee on Climate Change, Environment and the Arts
  • Standing Committee on Economics
  • Standing Committee on Education and Employment
  • Standing Committee on Health and Ageing
  • Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communication
  • Standing Committee on Regional Australia, and
  • Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs.

The House of Representatives Procedure Committee has noted that the ‘principal purpose of reducing the number and size of committees [was] to allow Members to dedicate more time to the committee or committees on which they serve’.[75]

While the number of portfolio-related standing committees has been reduced to nine, there are also seven ‘domestic’ committees dealing with House of Representatives matters (including the Procedure Committee), and members also remain active on the various joint committees of the Parliament. In addition, the 43rd Parliament has witnessed the establishment of several joint select committees. Overall, the number of committees is comparable to that in previous parliaments and the new referral of bills process in the House may well have increased the workload considerably.

Resources of the Parliament

Parliamentary Budget Office

The Agreement required that a Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) ‘be established, based in the Parliamentary Library, to provide independent policy costings, fiscal analysis and research to all members of parliament, especially non-government members.’ It also required that the ‘structure, resourcing and protocols for such an Office be the subject of a decision by a special committee of the Parliament which is truly representative of the Parliament.’[76]

A Joint Select Committee on the PBO was established under a resolution of appointment passed by the House of Representatives on 18 November 2010 and by the Senate on 22 November 2010. The Committee tabled its report on 23 March 2011 and made 28 recommendations.[77] On 10 May 2011 the Government announced that it ‘will provide $24.9 million over four years to establish an independent … PBO that will assist Parliament in its scrutiny of the budget and fiscal policy’.[78] On 1 August 2011 the Government tabled its response to the Joint Select Committee’s report and agreed fully or in principle to all the recommendations.

In August 2011 the Government and the Opposition introduced separate bills into the House of Representatives seeking to establish a PBO. The Government bill would establish the PBO as a fourth parliamentary department, while the Opposition bill (a private member’s bill) would establish the PBO as a separate statutory authority.[79] The Government bill would enable some PBO costings to be publicly available, and the Government has indicated that its bill incorporates the unanimous recommendations of the Joint Select Committee.[80] Under the Opposition’s bill the PBO costings would be ‘completely discrete and confidential’ and the PBO would not be permitted to publish material in relation to requests for advice by MPs without their consent.[81]

The Government bill was passed by the House of Representatives on 21 September 2011 and is currently before the Senate; debate on the Opposition’s bill was adjourned on 12 September.[82] The Australian Greens are considering amendments to the Government bill in the Senate regarding mandatory costings for certain election policies and confidentiality.[83]

Much of the controversy over the PBO has concerned the extent, nature and timing of the publication of policy costings.[84] Under the Charter of Budget Honesty, the major parties are supposed to submit their costings of policy proposals to Treasury and the Department of Finance during the period of caretaker government leading up to an election.

Other matters

Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner

The Agreement proposed the establishment of the office of the Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner (PIC) to:

… provide advice, administration and reporting on parliamentary entitlements, investigate and make recommendations to the Privileges Committees on individual investigations, provide advice to parliamentarians on ethical issues and uphold the Parliamentary Code of Conduct and control and maintain the Government’s Lobbyists register.[85]

A bill for a National Integrity Commissioner had first been introduced in the Senate by the Australian Greens on 22 June 2010 and lapsed at the end of the 42nd Parliament. It was reintroduced into the 43rd Parliament on 30 September 2010 in the Senate and awaits debate.[86] The bill proposes the establishment of the National Integrity Commission as an independent, statutory authority comprising:

  • a National Integrity Commissioner dealing with public officials and Commonwealth agencies, and possessing substantial investigatory powers, including the execution of search warrants
  • a Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner, to exercise the powers and functions conferred under the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006, and
  • an Independent Parliamentary Advisor, to advise serving and former parliamentarians, and their staff members, on issues of ethics and conduct, including conflicts of interest.

In August 2011 it was reported that the Government was ‘pushing ahead’ with the establishment of the PIC and that the relevant legislation was ‘on track for introduction’.[87] A 12 month deadline for the establishment of the office agreed separately between the Government and the Australian Greens has not been met.[88]

Code of Conduct

The Agreement proposed that a code of conduct for senators and members be formulated outlining the following arrangements:

A cross-party working group and inquiry process will be established to draft a code of conduct for members of the House and the Senate. Once established, this code will be overseen by the Privileges committee.[89]

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Privileges and Members’ Interests and the Senate Standing Committee of Senators’ Interests are considering the development of a draft code of conduct. Both committees are due to report in November 2011.[90]

Register of Lobbyists

The Agreement proposed that:

Further enhancements to the Register of Lobbyists be examined, including to the online publication of the Register and to place the register under the supervision of the Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner.[91]

On 1 August 2011 the Special Minister of State, the Hon Gary Gray, outlined changes to the Register to take effect on the same day. The Minister stated that, after considering matters raised in a recent review of the Lobbying Code of Conduct and Register of Lobbyists, the Government was satisfied that the Code and Register were operating ‘effectively, with appropriate coverage and reach’.[92]

The main change ‘to enhance openness and transparency’ is the requirement that lobbyists ‘disclose on the Register the details of any former government representatives employed by their firm as lobbyists’.[93]

Commentary on the hung Parliament

Compared to the large volume of commentary on the performance and fortunes of the Government, Opposition, political parties and the cross-bench, there has been little external commentary assessing the hung Parliament itself. The work of the Parliament has received some attention; changes to committees and committee activity, the volume of legislation passed, and increased time for ‘cross-bench business’ in the House of Representatives have all been noted.[94] Question time under the new paradigm arrangements has also been the subject of discussion.[95]

Perspectives among the parliamentarians themselves regarding the hung parliament vary. Opposition MP Christopher Pyne has commented that ‘[a] hung parliament is a rarity in Australia, which most people would agree is a good thing for the country’.[96] Independent Rob Oakeshott has stated that the parliament is ‘working’ but that ‘the politics is ugly’, and fellow independent Tony Windsor has also expressed the view that the Parliament is ‘working a lot better’.[97]

Former parliamentarians have also provided commentary on the hung Parliament and associated matters. Former Prime Minister John Howard has expressed the view that ‘the experiment of a new paradigm’ and the hung parliament ‘hasn’t worked’ and that he expects a return to majority government at the next election.[98] Former senator Natasha Stott Despoja noted that the initial sittings in 2010 ‘saw little disruption to the ordinary workings of government’, but has also observed that ‘the jury is still out’ on whether the new paradigm arrangements ‘will result in improved governance; greater democracy; or more effective policy and decision-making’.[99] Another former senator, Amanda Vanstone, has characterised the hung Parliament situation as one where ‘[a] few people end up being able to hold a major party to ransom’, with the result being a ‘mess’.[100]


Appendix 1: Agreement for a Better Parliament

 Agreement for a better Parliament

 Agreement for a better Parliament

Agreement for a better Parliament 

 Agreement for a better Parliament

 Agreement for a better Parliament

 Agreement for a better Parliament

 Agreement for a better Parliament

 Agreement for a better Parliament

 Agreement for a better Parliament

Agreement for a better Parliament 

Appendix 2: Concordance of procedural changes

 Overview of procedural changes


Overview of procedural changes 

Overview of procedural changes 

Source: HRSPC, Interim Report: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament, op. cit., p. 73.


Appendix 3: Private members’ Bills initiated in the House of Representatives

Short Title

Mover

Initiated in House

Status
(as at 22/9/11)

Intro to Senate as parallel bill

Abolition of Age Limit on Payment of the Superannuation Guarantee Charge Bill 2011

B Bishop

28/2/11

Before Reps

 

Air Services (Aircraft Noise) Amendment Bill 2011

Moylan

4/7/11

Before Reps

 

Assisting the Victims of Overseas Terrorism Bill 2010

Abbott

21/2/11

Not proceeding

26/11/10

Auditor-General Amendment Bill 2011

Oakeshott

28/2/11

Before Reps

Banking Amendment (Delivering Essential Financial Services) Bill 2010

Bandt

15/11/10

Not proceeding

30/09/10

Banking and Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Mobility and Flexibility) Bill 2011

Bandt

22/8/11

Before Reps

 

Carbon Tax Plebiscite Bill 2011

Abbott

4/7/11

2R negatived

21/6/11

Charter of Budget Honesty Amendment Bill 2011

Hockey

22/8/11

Before Reps

 

Commission of Inquiry into the Building the Education Revolution Program Bill 2010

Pyne

18/10/10

Not proceeding

Competition and Consumer (Price Signalling) Amendment Bill 2010

Billson

22/11/10

Not proceeding

Competition and Consumer Amendment (Horticultural Code of Conduct) Bill 2011

Katter

19/9/11

Before Reps

Constitutional Corporations (Farm Gate to Plate) Bill 2011

Katter

19/9/11

Before Reps

13/9/11

Defence Amendment (Parliamentary Approval of Overseas Service) Bill 2010

Bandt

15/11/10

Not proceeding

30/9/10

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (Abolition of Alpine Grazing) Bill 2011

Bandt

28/2/11

Before Reps

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (Public Health and Safety) Amendment Bill 2010

Hartsuyker

15/11/10

Not proceeding

 

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Mining, Petroleum and Water Resources) Bill 2011

Windsor

12/9/11

Before Reps

 

Evidence Amendment (Journalists’ Privilege) Bill 2011

Wilkie

18/10/10

Enacted

15/11/10

Home Insulation Program (Commission of Inquiry) Bill 2011

Hunt

21/3/11

Not proceeding

Live Animal Export (Slaughter) Prohibition Bill 2011

Bandt

20/6/11

2R negatived

20/6/11

Live Animal Export Restriction and Prohibition Bill 2011

Wilkie

20/6/11

2R negatived

15/6/11

National Broadband Network Financial Transparency Bill 2010

Turnbull

25/10/10

2R negatived

23/11/10

Paid Parental Leave (Reduction of Compliance Burden for Employers) Amendment Bill 2010

Billson

15/11/10

2R negatived

Parliamentary Budget Office Bill 2011

Hockey

22/8/11

Before Reps

Patent Amendment (Human Genes and Biological Materials) Bill 2010

Dutton

Oakeshott

Forrest

Turnbull

21/2/11

Before Reps

24/11/10

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Fair Protection for Firefighters) Bill 2011

Bandt

Broadbent

Vamvakinou

4/7/11

Before Reps

Telecommunications Amendment (Enhancing Community Consultation) Bill 2011

Wilkie

19/9/11

Before Reps

Wild Rivers (Environmental Management) Bill 2010

Abbott

15/11/10

Not proceeding

 

Wild Rivers (Environmental Management) Bill 2011

Abbott

12/9/11

Before Reps

10/2/11

 



[1].       The final election result was unclear for some time; it was not until 27 August 2010 that results for the last two divisions (Brisbane and Corangamite) were decided.

[2].       J Gillard, W Swan, B Brown, C Milne and A Bandt, The Australian Greens & The Australian Labor Party (‘The Parties’)—Agreement, 1 September 2010, p. 1, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F165017%22

[3].       J Gillard and A Wilkie, The Hon Julia Gillard & Mr Andrew Wilkie (‘the Parties’)—Agreement, 2 September 2010, p. 1, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F176826%22

[4].       J Gillard, W Swan, T Windsor and R Oakeshott, The Australian Labor Party & the Independent Members (Mr Tony Windsor and Mr Rob Oakeshott) (‘the Parties’)—Agreement, 7 September 2010, p. 1, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fjrnart%2F218795%22

[5].       The first year of the 43rd Parliament was the period 28 September 2010–28 September 2011 (the final sitting day in this period was 22 September 2011). The first year of the 43rd Parliament had 71 sitting days.

[6].       See Parliament of Australia, ‘Glossary: A Glossary of Parliamentary Words’, Parliament of Australia website, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/find/glossary.htm

[7].       Agreement for a Better Parliament, House of Representatives tabled paper, 20 October 2010, p. 2, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fjrnart%2F640272%22. A Selection Committee had operated during the 41st Parliament to facilitate committee, delegation and private members’ business; this was replaced in the 42nd Parliament by a meeting of whips that undertook similar functions. Neither the earlier Selection Committee, nor the meeting of whips, had the role of recommending items of private members’ business to be voted on, or of selecting bills for referral to committees.

[8].       House of Representatives, Standing Orders, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/pubs/standos/pdf/chapter16.pdf

[9].       Standing Order 222(a)(iii).

[10].      House of Representatives Standing Committee on Procedure (HRSCP), Interim Report: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament, HRSCP, Canberra, April 2011, p. 22, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/proc/Proceduralchanges/report1/FullReport.pdf

[11].      B Wright, Submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Procedure, Inquiry into procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament, December 2010, p. 4, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/proc/Proceduralchanges/submissions/Sub1.pdf

[12].      Calculated from House of Representatives, ‘Bills referred to Committees’, House of Representatives website, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/info/billsref.htm

[13].      For example the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics’ inquiries into the Wild Rivers (Environmental Management) Bill 2010 and the Competition and Consumer (Price Signalling) Amendment Bill 2010.

[14].      For example, see B Ripoll, ‘Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Early Release of Superannuation) Bill 2011: Report from Committee’, House of Representatives, Debates, 22 August 2011, pp. 8737–38, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2Fc98fcd9b-9e94-4cb9-b317-af35f8e25267%2F0135%22; A Rishworth, ‘Education and Employment Committee: Report’, House of Representatives, Debates, 16 August 2011, pp. 8174–76, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F573bfea6-b525-406b-8363-7b96417c2d7b%2F0073%22

[15].      See for example B Ripoll, ‘Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Early Release of Superannuation) Bill 2011: Report from Committee’, House of Representatives, Debates, op.cit.; A Rishworth, ‘Education and Employment Committee: Report’, House of Representatives, Debates, op. cit.; House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs (HRSCSPLA), Advisory report of the inquiry into Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011, HRSCSPLA, Canberra, May 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/spla/Bill%20Family%20Violence/report/Report.pdf; House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Environment and the Arts (HRSCCCEA), Advisory Report on Bills referred 24 March 2011, HRSCCCEA, Canberra, May 2011, p. 3, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/ccea/24March2011/report/fullreport.pdf

[16].      HRSCP, Interim Report No. 2: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament: Referral of bills to committees by the House Selection Committee, HRSCP, Canberra, June 2011, p. 11, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/proc/Proceduralchanges/report2/fullreport.pdf

[17].      HRSCP, Interim Report No. 2: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament: Referral of bills to committees by the House Selection Committee, op. cit., p. 11.

[18].      HRSCP, Interim Report No. 2: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament: Referral of bills to committees by the House Selection Committee, op. cit., p. 12.

[19].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 2.1, p. 2.

[20].      Australia, House of Representatives, Votes and Proceedings, no. 1, 2010, pp. 6, 9–10, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fvotes%2F2010-09-28%2F0002%22 

[21].      H Jenkins, ‘Speaker: Election’, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 September 2010, p. 12, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-09-28%2F0017%22

[22].      P Slipper, Statement of Peter Slipper MP regarding the Deputy Speakership, media release, 27 September 2010, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F253675%22

[23].      P Slipper, ‘Deputy Speaker: Election’, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 September 2011, p. 32, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-09-28%2F0043%22

[24].      T Abbott, ‘Deputy Speaker: Election’, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 September 2011, pp. 29–30, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-09-28%2F0039%22

[25].      Australia, House of Representatives, Votes and Proceedings, no. 43, 2010–11, pp. 583–84, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fvotes%2F2011-05-31%2F0003%22

[26].      H Jenkins, ‘Questions without Notice: Carbon Pricing’, House of Representatives, Debates, 31 May 2011, pp. 5283–84, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F17ce9e95-ddb6-408d-8d19-954ef4b886b1%2F0016%22

[27].      Australia, House of Representatives, Votes and Proceedings, no. 43, 2010–11, op. cit. See also C Johnson, ‘Speaker threatens to quit after ruling overturned’, Canberra Times, 1 June 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F806484%22

[28].      Australia, House of Representatives, Votes and Proceedings, no. 2, 2010, p. 34, viewed 6 October 2011,

          http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fvotes%2F2010-09-29%2F0023%22

[29].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 4.1, p. 2; Australia, House of Representatives, Votes and Proceedings, no. 2, 2010, op. cit., p. 37.

[30].      Figures provided by the House of Representatives Chamber Research Office as at 22 September 2011.

[31].      HRSCP, Interim Report: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament, op. cit., p. 33.

[32].      HRSCP, Interim Report: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament, op. cit., p. 33.

[33].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 4.5, p. 3.

[34].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 4.5, p. 3.

[35].      I C Harris, ed., House of Representatives Practice, fifth edn, Department of the House of Representatives, Canberra, 2005, pp. 552–3, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/pubs/PRACTICE/5Ch15.pdf

[36].      See for example H Jenkins, ‘Questions without Notice: Australian Labor Party, Kevin Bracken’, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 October 2010, p. 932, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-10-20%2F0106%22; H Jenkins, ‘Questions without Notice: Broadband’, House of Representatives, Debates, 16 November 2010, p. 2501, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-11-16%2F0036%22 

[37].      H Jenkins, ‘Questions without Notice: Economy’, House of Representatives, Debates, 30 September 2010, p. 338, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-09-30%2F0118%22

[38].      C Pyne, Submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Procedure, Inquiry into procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament, n.d., p. 3, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/proc/Proceduralchanges/submissions/Sub4.pdf

[39].      Ibid.

[40].      H Jenkins, ’Questions without Notice: Economy’, House of Representatives, Debates, 24 November 2010, p. 3630, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-11-24%2F0116%22

[41].      H Jenkins, ‘Questions without Notice: General Practice’, House of Representatives, Debates, 22 February 2011, p. 913, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2011-02-22%2F0037%22

[42].      HRSCP, Interim Report: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament, op. cit., p. 38.

[43].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 4.2, p. 3.

[44].      HRSCP, Interim Report: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament, op. cit., p. 10 (footnote 14).

[45].      T Abbott, ‘Questions without Notice: Climate Change’, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 September 2010, p. 172, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-09-29%2F0133%22

[46].      H Jenkins, ‘Supplementary questions’, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 October 2010, p. 859, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-10-20%2F0003%22

[47].      Ibid.

[48].      The Speaker did not allow opposition supplementary questions on 20 October 2010 and 15 September 2011. On 24 March 2011 and 24 August 2011 the Opposition moved a suspension of Standing and Sessional orders early in Question Time. After the motion was negatived the Prime Minister ‘asked that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper’.

[49].      HRSCP, Interim Report: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament, op. cit., p. 35.

[50].      H Jenkins, ‘Questions without Notice: Economy’, House of Representatives, Debates, 20 October 2010, p. 940, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-10-20%2F0115%22

[51].      HRSCP, Interim Report: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament, op. cit., p. 36.

[52].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 4.6, p. 3.

[53].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 4.7, p. 3.

[54].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 6.2, p. 4.

[55].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 6.1, p. 4.

[56].      B Wright, ‘House Rules: One year on’, About the House, Department of the House of Representatives, no. 42, August 2011, p. 55, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/house_news/magazine/42/pdf/ATH42.pdf

[57].      In November 2010 the Senate Procedure Committee recommended that the Senate also trial a scheme to allow enhanced opportunities for consideration of private senators’ bills as envisaged in the agreements on parliamentary reform entered into at the commencement of the 43rd Parliament. It included the provision of two hours and 20 minutes during the week exclusively for the consideration of private senators’ bills, and a mechanism for determining which private senators’ bills would be considered. The Senate adopted a temporary order giving effect to the trial procedure for the first six months of 2011. See Senate Procedure Committee, Consideration of Private Senators’ Bills, Senate Procedure Committee, Canberra, November 2010, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/proc_ctte/reports/2010/report4/report.pdf

[58].      House of Representatives, Statistical Digest: no. 12, 43rd Parliament, 12 to 22 September 2011, House of Representatives, Canberra, 2011, pp. 1–2, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/pubs/statistics/43p/sd12.pdf; House of Representatives, Statistical Digest: no. 3, 43rd Parliament, 15–25 November 2010, House of Representatives, Canberra, 2010, pp. 1–2, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/pubs/statistics/43p/sd3.pdf

[59].      The Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial responsibility for approval of RU486) Bill 2005 [2006] was co-sponsored by women Senators from four different parties, and its passage effectively lifted a ministerial veto on the ‘abortion pill’ RU486. See Marian Sawer, ‘Women and representation revisited: Institutional supports for the substantive representation of women’, unpublished paper courtesy of the author, 2011.

[60].      Introduced by Ms Christine Gallus, then member for Hindmarsh (SA).

[61].      House of Representatives, Statistical Digest: no. 12, 43rd Parliament, 12 to 22 September 2011 and Statistical Digest: no. 3, 43rd Parliament, 15–25 November 2010, ibid.

[62].      Department of the Senate, Senate Brief No. 8: The Senate and Legislation, Department of the Senate, Canberra, May 2011, p. 2, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/pubs/briefs/pdf/brief08.pdf

[63].      House of Representatives, Statistical Digest: no. 12, 43rd Parliament, 12 to 22 September 2011 and Statistical Digest: no. 3, 43rd Parliament, 15–25 November 2010, op. cit.

[64].      Figures compiled by the Politics and Public Administration Section.

[65].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 17.1, p. 9.

[66].      A Albanese, ‘Standing Orders’, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 September 2010, p. 116, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-09-29%2F0083%22

[67].      Divisions on 29 September 2010, 18 October 2010, 20 June 2011 and one division on 5 July 2011.

[68].      ‘Pairs controversy looms for carbon tax debate’, ABC PM, transcript, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), 8 September 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22emms%2Femms%2F220996%22

[69].      These figures do not include the instance on 31 May 2011 when Bob Baldwin (LP, NSW) was named by the Speaker for interjecting after a general warning had been issued. Mr Baldwin was not suspended as the motion to suspend him was negatived. This was only the third occasion in the history of the Parliament that a motion to suspend a member has been lost. This had implications for the Speaker (see pp. 5–6 above).

[70].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 9.2, p. 5.

[71].      C Pyne, ‘Standing orders’, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 September 2010, p. 133, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-09-29%2F0084%22              

[72].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 10.4, p. 6.

[73].      A Albanese, ‘Government responses to committee reports’, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 September 2010, p. 143, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-09-29%2F0093%22; ultimately a committee can ‘bring the matter to the attention, if appropriate, of the Auditor-General for assistance in resolving matters referred to in the report or to the Speaker for assistance in resolving the response process’: ibid.

[74].      HRSCP, Interim Report: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament, op. cit., p. 40.

[75].      HRSCP, Interim Report: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament, op. cit., p. 39.

[76].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 16.1, p. 8.

[77].      Joint Select Committee on the Parliamentary Budget Office (JSCPBO), Inquiry into the proposed Parliamentary Budget Office, JSCPBO, Canberra, March 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jscpbo/report/fullreport.pdf

[78].      W Swan and P Wong, Establishment of a Parliamentary Budget Office, media release, 10 May 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F762444%22

[79].      Parliamentary Service Amendment (Parliamentary Budget Officer) Bill 2011, Explanatory Memorandum, p. 1, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/legislation/ems/r4643_ems_45e50809-4def-4e8a-90aa-33684a75ad8d/upload_pdf/359415.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf; Parliamentary Budget Office Bill 2011, Explanatory memorandum, p. 4, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/legislation/ems/r4619_ems_6ed36c79-e4a3-4763-bded-3b391d7c5121/upload_pdf/11160b01HockeyEM.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf

[80].      Parliamentary Service Amendment (Parliamentary Budget Officer) Bill 2011, Explanatory Memorandum, p. 10; J Kelly, ‘Swan unleashes on election costings’, The Australian, 12 September 2011, p. 2, viewed 6 October 2011 http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F1077251%22

[81].      Parliamentary Budget Office Bill 2011, Explanatory Memorandum, p. 4; Parliamentary Budget Office Bill 2011, item 7, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo/parlInfo/download/legislation/bills/r4619_first/toc_pdf/11160b01Hockey.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf; L Tingle, ‘Libs shy off costing of pledge’, Australian Financial Review, 14 September 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F1081428%22

[82].      D Tehan, ‘Parliamentary Budget Office Bill 2011; Charter of Budget Honesty Bill Amendment Bill 2011’, House of Representatives, Debates, 12 September 2011, p. 173, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F24fe5c5f-1391-455b-808d-7943b3d1ab3e%2F0290%22; Australia, House of Representatives, Votes and Proceedings, no. 69, 2010-11, p. 939, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fvotes%2F2011-09-20%2F0016%22

[83].      B Brown, Costings should be mandatory: Greens, media release, 22 September 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F1129619%22

[84].      R Mulgan, ‘Costing the promises: what is a Parliamentary Budget Office?’, The Conversation, 13 September 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://theconversation.edu.au/costing-the-promises-what-is-a-parliamentary-budget-office-3061; see also P Martin, ‘Hockey shies from costings unit as ethics probe drags on’, The Age, 13 September 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F1079028%22 

[85].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 18, p. 9.

[86].      Australia, Senate, Journals, no. 3, 2010, pp. 114–15, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fjournals%2F20100930_SJ003%2F0015%22

[87].      S Maher and M Rout, ‘PM to unveil misconduct ‘clearing house’’, The Australian, 29 August 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query%3DId%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F1038607%22

[88].      J Gillard, W Swan, B Brown, C Milne and A Bandt, The Australian Greens & The Australian Labor Party (‘The Parties’)—Agreement, op. cit., p. 3; L Besser, ‘Get serious on public service fraud: Bandt’, Sydney Morning Herald,21 September 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F1099453%22

[89].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 19, p. 9.

[90].      House of Representatives Standing Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests (HRSCPMI), ‘Inquiry into Draft Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament: Terms of Reference’ HRSCPMI website, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/pmi/reports.htm; Senate Standing Committee of Senators’ Interests (SSCSI), ‘Inquiry into Code of Conduct: Terms of Reference’, SSCSI website, viewed 6 October 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/interests_ctte/inquiries/code_conduct/tor.htm

[91].      Agreement for a Better Parliament, op. cit., cl. 20, p. 9.

[92].      G Gray (Special Minister of State), Changes to lobbyists register, media release, 1 August 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F972552%22

[93].      Ibid.

[94].      N Stott Despoja, ‘Public Policy in the New Paradigm’, Public Administration Today, vol. 26, 2011, p. 30, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fjrnart%2F740384%22; P Hudson, ‘Polls apart, PM deserves credit on legislation and the economy’, Herald Sun, 30 August 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F1041880%22; L Oakes, ‘PM’s witch’s hat woes’, Adelaide Advertiser, 27 August 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F1032611%22; J Synnott, ‘Balance of Power’, Intheblack, 1 March 2011, pp. 51–52, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fjrnart%2F596263%22

[95].      See for example Editorial, ‘Pollies need time-out on naughty step’, Courier Mail, 20 August 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F1014903%22; D Atkins, ‘Leers and jeers pass for debate’, Courier Mail, 17 August 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F1006997%22; P Carlyon, ‘No theatre, just a farce’, Herald Sun, 25 June 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F869443%22; G Kitney, ‘A question of timing’, Australian Financial Review, 2 March 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F592499%22

[96].      C Pyne, ‘Our floundering hung parliament is not in the nation’s best interests’, The Australian, 9 July 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F909835%22

[97].      Anonymous, ‘Hung parliament working: Oakeshott’, AAP, 22 August 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://search.proquest.com/docview/884494092; Kitney, ‘A question of timing’, op. cit.

[98].      C Uhlmann, ‘Interview with John Howard’, 7:30 Report, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), 30 August 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22emms%2Femms%2F219943%22 

[99].      Stott Despoja, ‘Public Policy in the New Paradigm’, op. cit., pp. 29, 30.

[100].      A Vanstone, ‘Independents helped put us in this mess’, Age, 22 August 2011, viewed 6 October 2011, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressclp%2F1020662%22

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