Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 11 May 1995) . . Page.. 465 ..
We have been through this before. I repeat “at least one question”. That has been recognised by the Chair at all times. The fact that some members may ask two questions is still within the scope of standing orders. The standing order also refers to “Members rising”. I have noticed a certain tardiness on the part of members in getting to their feet. Whether there is a game being played I know not and frankly I do not care, but the fact is that all non-Executive members rising have asked at least one question. I have respected that.
It is equally true to say, however, that, once that has occurred, if the Chief Minister rises and asks that further questions be placed on notice, or with the intention of doing so, then the Chief Minister shall be recognised. This was the case, members of the Opposition, you might remember, in the previous Assembly and it will be the case in this Assembly. When the Chief Minister rises in her place, she will be recognised. I also draw attention to House of Representatives Practice, page 509, which states:
In order to bring Question Time to a conclusion the Prime Minister or the senior Minister present may, at any time, rise and ask that further questions be placed on notice, even if a Member has already received the call.
I think we are a little more liberal in this Assembly. Nevertheless, the situation is quite clear that the Prime Minister or a senior Minister, or in this case the Chief Minister, is regarded as paramount within the chamber if they rise to their feet.
Ms McRae: With the greatest of respect, Mr Speaker, our standing orders are quite different to those of the House of Representatives. Our standing orders require at least one question from each member, which the House of Representatives standing orders do not, and that comparison cannot be drawn. May I further state by way of a point of order that my understanding of the convention is such that when a government or an opposition member sought a second question I as Speaker always endeavoured to balance that question. With the greatest of respect, Mr Speaker, of course the Chief Minister can terminate question time; but, as far as possible, if a member of the Opposition, an Independent or anyone else asked a second question, I endeavoured to allow the other side of the house to ask a second question.
MR SPEAKER: As far as I am concerned, the discussion is concluded. I have made my position clear.
Mr Hird: What happens if they do not rise?
Ms McRae: Order yourself, Mr Hird!
Mr Kaine: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Who is the Speaker in this house?
MR SPEAKER: Order! Please continue, Ms McRae.
Ms McRae: I think I have finished. That was the convention as I understood it, and I do believe that Mr Berry's point of order held a lot of merit.