Sep 18, 2007

Questions to the Speaker – Question Time (1)

Questions to the Speaker – Question Time (1)

18 September 2007

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler)—Mr Speaker, you will have noted that we only had seven questions from this side of the House today, whereas the normal procedure allows for 10. The reason the Prime Minister gave for cutting question time short was time. Will you examine the length of answers that were given today? House of Representatives Practice clearly indicates that answers should be relevant to the question. Today, if you examine the Hansard, you will find that a number of the ravings from ministers opposite were clearly outside of the question which was asked.

The SPEAKER—I say in response to the Manager of Opposition Business that he would be well aware that question time ends when the Prime Minister, or a senior minister, asks that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper. It is not the responsibility of the chair to dictate when that point will come. In response to his second question about the length of answers, he would be aware that successive occupiers of the chair have often had difficulties with that issue but, as the standing order does not put a time limit on answers, it is not within the purview of the chair to put a strict time limit on answers.