Procedure to publish names of MP's absent without permission
Media Release – Office of the Clerk
New procedure to publish names of members absent without permission
All members of Parliament should attend parliamentary business. This expectation is now backed up by a new procedure to publish the names of members who are absent without permission. A deduction will be made from the salary of a member whose name is published for absence on four or more sitting days during a year.
The House of Representatives (the House) has adopted a resolution (known as a ‘sessional order’) that establishes this new procedure. From 28 January 2014, the Clerk of the House will record when members attend or have permission to be absent on each sitting day.
Attendance on a sitting day includes:
• attending the House
• attending a select committee meeting
• participating in an inter-parliamentary relations programme visit
• participating in official business approved by the Business Committee.
Permission to be absent may be granted by the Speaker and by party leaders and whips, in which case the penalty would not apply.
The name of any member who does not attend and does not have permission to be absent on a sitting day will be published in the House’s official record (the Journals) for that week. If a member’s name is published in the Journals for more than three sitting days in a calendar year, then for the fourth and each subsequent day the Speaker will certify to the Parliamentary Service that a deduction should be made from the member’s salary.
Under section 13 of the Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) Amendment Act 2013, the penalty amounts to 0.2 percent of the member’s gross annual salary. This is a substantial increase from the previous $10 deduction applied under the Civil List Act 1979 after 14 sitting days’ absence.
The only information from the record of attendance the Clerk is authorised to publish is the names of those members who have been absent without permission on sitting days.