THIRD REPORT OF 2008
The committee reports to the Senate on the following matter that
has been under consideration by the committee.
Restructuring question time
In its first report of 2008, the committee indicated that it
has under consideration a proposal to restructure question time with the aim of
making it a more effective mechanism for seeking the accountability of the
executive government to the Parliament. The proposal was outlined in that
report, with an indication that the allocation of questions under the proposal
would be governed by informal agreements similar to those operating at present.
The committee also indicated that it appreciated that the proposal would
involve a major change to the operation of question time, and that the
committee would consult with senators before making a recommendation.
Following that consultation, and discussions at some length
in the committee, a majority of the committee has agreed to recommend to the
Senate a trial, for the last two sitting weeks of this year, of a more limited
change to question time. This modified proposal is as follows:
- no notice to be given of questions, as at present
- primary questions to be limited to one minute and the
answers to them to two minutes
- two supplementary questions to be allowed to the
- supplementary questions and the answers to them to be
limited to one minute each
- answers to be required to be directly relevant to each
question, as in the original proposal.
The committee therefore recommends that this report be
adopted and the procedures as outlined operate as a temporary order for the two
weeks of sittings beginning on 24 November 2008.
Deputy President and Chair of Committees
Chair of the Procedure
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