The Review of Standing Orders

July 23rd, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Standing Orders Committee has published its recommendations for changes to , which will inevitably be accepted by the House.

The previous review was quite bold and made some significant changes, which have enhanced considerably – especially the use of extended sitting to minimise the use of urgency.

This time, the changes are very modest and they have rejected almost every significant proposal for change. As one of those who advocated change, I’m disappointed.

There are some useful enhancements though. They include:

  • Recommending funding for full webcasting of select committees
  • Adopting the temporary rules in use for recording MPs attendance, so they can have pay deducted if absence without leave
  • Allows the Business Committee to decide to retain question time when the House is in urgency (I and many advocated question time should be retained automatically)
  • Allows sign language to be used in the House if an MP wishes
  • Any opinions from the Attorney-General that a bill unjustifiably breaches the Bill of Rights Act will now be formally considered by the relevant select committee. However no requirement for amendments to be assessed by the Attorney-General for BORA compliance which is what we really need.
  • Some minor changes to general debates on the Budget and PM’s statement, but no overall reduction in time allocated to them which is a pity as after the first six or so speeches they become meaningless speeches with no relevance to the topic.
  • The time recorded for replies to written questions will not tae account of interim or holding replies, so that Ministers are incentivised to still provide full replies more quickly
  • Make clear that donations to MPs such as for leadership contest expenses must be disclosed if over $500

But overall the report is more noticeable for what they did not do, than what they did agree to.

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7 Responses to “The Review of Standing Orders”

  1. metcalph (1,367 comments) says:

    Allows sign language to be used in the House if an MP wishes

    So MPs can give each other the finger if they so desire?

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  2. peterwn (3,334 comments) says:

    Pity, I would also like to see party leaders subject to Question Time.

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  3. tvb (4,556 comments) says:

    Many speeches may be meaningless but the House should resist denying the opportunity of an MP to speak. If you had your way only the most senior members would have that opportunity.

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  4. G152 (420 comments) says:

    The Parliament would be much improved if they switch the sound off

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  5. Philonz (88 comments) says:

    I’d be keen to see some way of removing the ability for a government to use extraordinary urgency to pass non-urgent legislation. All non-urgent legislation should go through select committee e.g. the national standards legislation.

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  6. Philonz (88 comments) says:

    Will be interesting to see if webcasting select committees results in greater grandstanding and point scoring. Committees work pretty well together now and it would be a shame if they started playing for the cameras and being more combative.

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  7. big bruv (14,218 comments) says:

    “» Recommending funding for full webcasting of select committees”

    No, would only cost us all more money and very few people give a fuck.

    “» Allows sign language to be used in the House if an MP wishes”

    No, waste of time and my money. Allowing this PC crap would only mean that we have to employ a whole bunch of finger wavers. We have made more than enough allowances for the one totally useless deaf MP we already have, no more cost needs to be incurred.

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