Pyne attacked over reform calls


Pyne attacked over reform calls

Date January 30, 2013 – 10:31AM 57 reading now

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Judith Ireland

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Christopher Pyne Photo: Andrew Meares

Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne has pledged to increase parliamentary question time if the Coalition is elected later this year but the government says he is a serial wrecker of question time who has no credibility on the issue.

Mr Pyne, who is manager of opposition business, is calling for a half-hour backbench question time – on top of the existing question time – to give backbenchers the opportunity to ask ministers questions about their local electorates.

”One of the fair criticisms of question time is that the frontbenchers on both sides feature and often local issues that many backbenchers would like to raise never get a look-in because of border protection or economy, cost of living, job security, etc dominating frontbench questions,” he told ABC Radio before a speech on Wednesday at the Institute of Public Affairs.

Mr Pyne will outline ”practical changes” that he says would make the Parliament a ”better place”, among them greater independence for the Parliamentary speaker.


”I think that we do need a little ”i” independent speaker, one that stays outside the party room in the way that [former speaker] Harry Jenkins did and tries to exercise a genuine independence,” he said.

”What’s happened with the speakership over the last two years has been a farce under Julia Gillard where it’s been used as a shiny bauble in order to attract support as it was with Peter Slipper. This has been wrong. It’s reduced the role of speaker and also damaged the Parliament and it’s time to put an end to that.”

Rules governing proceedings would also be strengthened to allow MPs to be challenged while speaking on bills, and parliament would sit for more days a year, The Australian Financial Review has reported.

Mr Pyne was kicked out of parliament four times in the second half of last year for offences such as “continual abuse of standing orders” and “persistent interjection”.

He has also been pulled up by Speaker Anna Burke for interrupting, using a prop, not resuming his seat and ignoring her calls

Labor frontbencher and current Leader of the House Anthony Albanese said the Coalition was not serious about parliamentary reform.

He said they had tried to ”wreck parliament to bring down the government”, and accused Mr Pyne of being an ”imposter”.

”What people will do is look at what they say should happen in Parliament and then look at how they behave on the floor of the House of Representatives,” he told ABC radio.

He said the opposition disrupted the operation of Parliament at every opportunity.

”They suspended standing orders on 72 occasions, which led to a loss of some 409 questions in question time,” Mr Albanese said.

Mr Albanese recalled how Mr Pyne and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had run out of the chamber to avoid accepting Craig Thomson’s ”tainted” vote last year, which showed ”their contempt for proper processes”.

Mr Abbott told reporters in Melbourne on Wednesday that it was important that Australians could ”once more watch their Parliament without embarrassment.”

”It is important that Christopher be given his chance today to talk about the kind of reforms that we would like to see made in the Parliament,” the Opposition Leader said. ”In the end though, it is the Prime Minister who sets the tone of the Parliament who determines whether people can watch the Parliament and feel proud of our country.”

With AAP

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One thought on “Pyne attacked over reform calls

  1. Neville

    29 January, 2013

    They may need to lock the doors to stop him doing a runner

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