Page 718 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 5 April 2022
bit like saying, “We have questions on health, but the health minister can only answer one question.” It is nonsense.
It has worked quite effectively through the COVID period. I am not actually litigating the argument; I am just trying to explain what it is. The opposition have been wanting to do this for some time and have been stymied. We came into this place frustrated last September and said, “Look, we want to make this change.” It was adjourned, and the argument for adjourning it was: “We are going to go off and do this holus-bolus review of the standing orders and we will come back and let you know down the track.” That was last September. Last September you adjourned it, saying, “We are going to do this review.” That review has not even started!
So the opposition is in limbo. We are arguing for a very simple change, a change that has been working very effectively, cooperatively, through COVID. You adjourn that motion, saying, “We are going to do a review,” and you never even start the review. Admin and procedures has not even started that review. We still sit here saying, “Why can’t we make that change?” Nobody has come to the opposition and explained why we cannot do it, other than to say, “Oh, we want to do a big review that we have never even started.” We do not get to find out why we cannot do that.
Something that is done in every other parliament in Australia, that worked extremely effectively through COVID and that makes eminent sense if you actually want to have a good effective question time, you lot adjourned because you said it needs to be part of a whole review and then you do not even do that whole review! When will that be done, Mr Deputy Speaker? Maybe you know. No-one can tell me when that is going to happen. So what I want to do is bring it on for debate. At least have the debate; at least tell me in this place why you are not supporting it. Do not just say, “Oh, we are going to do it off in a review,” again and then not explain why you will not support it.
It is a very simple change; it is a change that worked eminently successfully throughout COVID. We will have this bizarre situation if we continue, where I will be wanting to ask questions today of the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs about a very serious matter that has happened in this town and I will not be allowed to. I will be able to ask one question and then I will have to write a question for somebody else to read. How does that aid democracy? How is that being open and accountable, like you lot say?
If your answer to this motion today is: “We are not even going to debate it; we are not going to allow you to have the debate; we are going to put it off to this review that is on the never-never and has not even started yet,” and you come back supporting it, this is the irony because there is no argument against it. You are going to delay it—there will be some grand review of standing orders in the never-never—and then come back and say, “Yes, that was okay. Not sure why we did not support that.”
So what I am arguing here for today is: at least have the debate about that change to standing orders. You cannot, again, say, “We are going to send it off to this review that never happens.” At least have the debate. At least somebody in this place tell me why you will not support it. At least do that. Do not just say, “No, we are not going to allow you to have the debate. We are going to put it off to review but we are never