Published: 21 April 2015

[11.15 a.m.]

Ms FORREST (Muchison) - Mr President, I do not intend to support the motion on the basis that the Standing Orders Committee looked at this particular question about the need for quorum calls and whether they are still necessary, appropriate or relevant on 6 November last year. 

The Standing Orders Committee at that time determined that they should remain as is.  There are provisions for taking matters under suspension where necessary.  The requirement for bills to be tabled, either through a quorum call or a sitting of the Parliament, then having three sitting days for them to mature, removes uncertainty for government.  They do not need to rely on the Legislative Council being benevolent on the day and saying, 'Yes, we are happy to take some bills under suspension of Standing Orders'.


There is a formal process.  We still are the masters of our own destiny.  We could get up at any time during a debate and seek to adjourn it, but again, we rely on the support of the majority of the upper House to achieve that.  The Standing Orders Committee met last year - very recently - and considered this question and came to the conclusion that the quorum call process should remain as it is.  It is not an antiquated process.  It is the process of having a proper procedure for maturation of bills.  There are provisions within the Standing Orders for taking matters under suspension where it is deemed urgent or necessary.  That was considered by the committee as well.


The issue of predominantly southern members attending was also considered by the Standing Orders Committee at the time and yes, that may be the case, but northern members attend as well.  It is part of our job.  As the member for Rumney noted, an email was sent round recently saying we may need to have an additional two this year, and it was seeking people's availability for those.  It is handy when they are already set out at the beginning of the year because you can diarise them, and avoid conflicts where possible.


As far as getting back to our electorate is concerned, we all want to get back to our electorate.  I would like to get back to my electorate at night, and I am sure many other northern members would too, but we do not.  We are here for the whole week, and often down here for committee work as well.  Very rarely is committee work undertaken in the north of the state.  Whilst I am always happy to turn up for a quorum call if necessary, they only require a majority of members, so it is reasonable that the southern members predominantly turn up for them.  I know many of the northern members have travelled down sometimes for quorum calls, or certainly stayed overnight when it has been necessary.


I understand the arguments the member for Rumney has put, and I do not dispute that they are valid arguments, but they were considered only late last year and fully explored by the Standing Orders Committee.  In view of that very recent review, and the decision of the Standing Orders Committee at the time, I do not support another review now.  I do not support the motion.


[11.19 a.m.]

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