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A window on the House: practices and procedures relating to Question Time

Parliamentary scrutiny Parliament of Australia Australia

Although it can be far from representative of the way much of business is conducted in the House, as the most visible part of the parliamentary day Question Time is often the period on which the House is judged.

The inquiry heard that public perception of Question Time is by and large not positive and there is significant scope for improvement. The Committee makes a range of recommendations in this report, and while many of these relate to specific changes to standing orders it is hoped that, if adopted, the net effect of the changes would be to improve the conduct of Question Time overall. The Committee considers a reformed Question Time would improve how the House, and indeed the Parliament, is viewed.

Report structure:

  • Chapter 2 of the report outlines the history of Question Time to provide background and context to the inquiry and its recommendations.
  • Chapter 3 reflects on the complex dynamic of Question Time and sets out the evidence received and the concerns raised during the inquiry.
  • In the following chapters the Committee then considers how these concerns might be addressed. Changes to the structure of Question Time that could improve accountability are discussed in Chapter 4.
  • Chapter 5 looks at how changing the rules relating to questions and answers could encourage more relevant answers and make it more straightforward to manage Question Time.
  • Chapter 6 considers how else Question Time might be improved and, through this, how trust in the House might be lifted.
  • The Committee’s concluding remarks are set out in Chapter 7.
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