On Wednesday the House debated the Address-in-Reply to Her Excellency the Governor, the Library Amendment Bill 2019 was introduced, and new sessional orders relating to Question Time were put to the test.
Address-in-reply to Her Excellency, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor
As mentioned in a previous post, on 7 May the new Governor, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, opened the 57th Parliament.
As Her Excellency had only assumed this role a week earlier, on 2 May, the House considered and agreed to a message of congratulations to Her Excellency regarding her assumption of the administration of the state.
The House, as required by standing order, also considered an Address-in-Reply to the Governor. The Address-in-Reply expresses thanks for the opening speech by the Governor and the Council’s loyalty to Australia and the people of New South Wales. It also provides an opportunity for members to respond to the government’s agenda as outlined by the Governor. There are no time limits on debate on the Address-in-Reply with the debate traditionally wide-ranging and often remaining on the Notice Paper for many sitting days.
Once agreed to, the President and members of the House proceed to Government House and present the Address-in-Reply to the Governor with the President reading the Address agreed to by the House.
See Hansard for the Address-in-reply debate so far.
House of origin: Legislative Council
The bill seeks to repeal the Copyright Act 1879 and to amend the Library Act 1939 with respect to legal deposit libraries, so as to provide legal deposit libraries with greater functions to be able to identify and collect any material that the head librarian of each library considers relevant, including electronic publications.
Mr Harwin introduced the bill and gave his second reading speech on Wednesday (see Hansard for a transcript of his speech). At the conclusion of the Minister’s speech debate was adjourned for five calendar days.
Question Time with new sessional orders in operation
As mentioned in a previous post, procedures for questions during the new parliament have changed as a result of the sessional orders adopted on 8 May. These changes were put into effect during Question Time this week.
On Tuesday, members of the House raised queries as to whether some Ministers, when providing answers, were being ‘directly relevant’ to the question asked as required by the new rules.
The President ruled on one occasion that a Minister was not being directly relevant as his answer did not address the question and on another occasion, the President ruled that a Minister was being directly relevant in her answer as it addressed one part of the question asked.
Wednesday’s Question Time saw members use a new sessional order to debate answers to questions given that day. The ‘take note’ of answers debate focused on answers provided by the relevant Ministers concerning schools working with children check and the Country Universities Centre.
In addition, members used a new provision which allows, at the discretion of the President, one supplementary question to be immediately put by the member asking the original question and one further supplementary question to be immediately put by another non-government member to elucidate an answer.
The following members spoke to the adjournment debate:
- Mr Secord – Regional Maternity Services
- Mr Blair – Food Waste
- Mr Shoebridge – Indigenous Australian Agriculture
- Mrs Houssos – State Election Labor Candidates
- Mrs Ward – Holocaust Remembrance