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Longest Question Time… Denied

Longest Question Time… Denied

ACT MPs attempts to extend Question Time today were defeated by another loophole in Parliament’s rules.

ACT tried to take filibustering to a new level in Parliament this afternoon as it tried to delay the passage into law of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill.

ACT MPs John Boscawen and Hillary Calvert lodged more than 700 questions to the chairs of select committees and MPs in charge of a Member’s bill.

After questions to ministers, MPs are allowed to ask questions to MPs about procedural matters for chairs of select committees and MPs in charge of bills.

The rules of Parliament – Standing Orders – places no limit on these type of questions as it was envisaged they would always be fairly rare.

A number of times in this Parliament a number of questions to chairs have been asked in an attempt to slow progress in the House.

When it came for the questions to be asked Speaker Lockwood Smith said never had such a large number of questions been lodged and it threatened the placement of limitations on such questions.

The Speaker also said around 600 questions had been ruled out of order.

When Mr Boscawen attempted to ask the questions none of the chairs were in the House which meant they were all postponed.

When he questioned why this was so, Mr Speaker said that it could be they were away on Parliamentary business as important as the questions being asked.

The only chair in the House was ACT MP Heather Roy so the attempt to extend Question Time to delay the foreshore replacement bill till the next sitting day was not successful.

Mr Speaker told MPs that he hoped the Standing Orders Committee would be asked to consider whether limits should be placed on Questions to Members.

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