A window on the House: practices and procedures relating to Question Time

March 2021

© Commonwealth of Australia 2021
ISBN: 978-1-76092-218-4

View the report as a single document:

View the report as separate downloadable parts:



Membership of the Committee

  Committee Secretariat

Terms of Reference

List of Recommendations

1. Introduction

  Conduct of the inquiry
  Structure of the report

2. History and background of Question Time

  Rules relating to Question Time
  A brief history of the standing orders
  Previous inquiries into Question Time
  Question Time in other legislatures

3. A dynamic situation

  Evidence to the Committee
  Purpose of Question Time
  Culture, behaviour and visibility
  The complexity of the rules and the role of the Speaker

4. Improving Question Time: Better accountability

  Ministerial accountability and effectiveness of Question Time
  Questions from government Members
  Supplementary questions
  Portfolio questions/Prime Minister’s Question Time
  Constituency questions
  Balloting/rostering of questioners
  Questions from the public
  Other ministers answering questions directed to the Prime Minister
  Questions in advance

5. Improving Question Time: More effective rules

  Better, more relevant, answers
  Time limits for questions and answers
  Length of Question Time
  Addressing disorderly behaviour/penalties

6. Improving Question Time: A better insight to Parliament

  Use of mobile phones during Question Time
  The timing of Question Time
  Other business at 2 pm

7. Conclusion: Question Time and beyond

  Concluding remarks

A. Submissions

B. Public hearings and witnesses

C. List of additional documents

D. List of exhibits

E. Previous Procedure Committee recommendations relating to Question Time

F. Public Survey Questions

G. Public survey: responses to background questions

H. Members survey questions

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Standing Committee on Procedure
PO Box 6021
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 4672