Greens co-leader Russel Norman has written an open letter to new Speaker David Carter urging him to return to the rulings set down by his predecessor Lockwood Smith or risk increasing disorder in the House.
Smith instituted a new regime that ditched the old requirement for ministers to merely ”address” a question in favour of a tougher requirement to answer a direct question where possible.
But opposition MPs have been frustrated at what they see as Carter’s shift away from that.
Norman is due to meet Carter soon to discuss the letter.
In it Norman said he felt compelled to write after sitting through ”another chaotic question time”.
He said Smith’s rules in summary were that “a straight question will get a straight answer” and that delivered a more orderly and effective question time.
I thought the straight question gets a straight answer rule was a very good one, so in that regard I agree with Norman.
What I’m not so sure about is whether that rule is or is not still being applied. I simply have not watched enough question time to judge. I would make the point that there remains a difference between a primary question and a supplementary. A straight primary question should get a straight answer. A supplementary question which is seeking very specific data may often be unable to be answered unless it was very tightly connected to the primary.Tags: David Carter, Russel Norman, Speaker