Parliamentary Procedure

June 20, 2017

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 15:26 :45 ): Thank you, Mr President. I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking questions of the Leader of Government Business.

 

Leave granted.

 

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY: Every sitting day, my office, along with all the other crossbench offices, send a whipping list to the government and opposition whips indicating whether we are ready to progress matters on the Notice Paper. Each parliamentary sitting day, the Greens, Dignity Party, Australian Conservatives and my office list the matters on the Notice Paper and specify whether we are ready for the matter to progress. The reason for requesting matters to not progress is usually because our offices are still consulting with stakeholders, considering amendments or awaiting further information from ministerial offices; it is not simply to hold up the parliament or because of disorganisation from offices.

 

These intentions are usually respected as a matter of convention, with the understanding that if a matter is progressed when a member is not ready then that particular member will not support the bill. Other than prohibiting a member from being able to contribute to the debate, progressing a matter when a member is not ready is usually not a problem where there is overwhelming support or opposition to a matter. However, the same action can cause enormous problems when the success of a bill hinges on the vote of one or two members. My questions are:

  1. Can the minister advise what is the point of all the crossbenchers providing whipping advice when this advice is ignored and decisions are made to progress matters contrary to whipping advice?

  2. How does the minister determine what matters are to be progressed? Does consultation with the relevant minister's office take place?

 

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) ( 15:28 :16 ): I thank the honourable member for his question and I am happy if he wants to talk to me afterwards about a particular bill that he has been prevented from contributing to or is being prevented from contributing to through the passage of the bill. I am happy for him to come to tell me about that particular bill that he cannot contribute on as a result of something that has happened in this chamber.

 

I am not aware of one but if the honourable member wants to come to me afterwards and talk about a bill that he has been prevented from contributing to or a bill that he is now being prevented from contributing to, I am very happy for him to come and talk to me about the bill that he was not afforded an opportunity and no longer has an opportunity to contribute to. I am not aware of one.

 

I think, as a general principle, we are extraordinarily respectful in this place—both the opposition and the government—to the wishes of each other and to the crossbenchers when progressing matters. However, I am happy if the honourable member wants to talk to me afterwards, if there is a bill that he has not been afforded the opportunity to contribute to and does not have an opportunity to contribute to, because I am certainly not aware of one.

 

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway interjecting:

 

The PRESIDENT: Order!

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