Standing Orders Committee

The PRESIDENT (14:21): Before I call on questions without notice, I will take this opportunity to respond to a question the Hon. Ms Bonaros asked of me yesterday. The Hon. Ms Bonaros directed a question to me in question time concerning the Standing Orders Committee. It is true that the Standing Orders Committee has not met during the current session. In fact, the Standing Orders Committee last met in 2007 to consider certain matters.

Most likely, members will be aware that the committee does not have a history of meeting frequently, so the absence of the committee meeting during this session is not an unusual or isolated occurrence. The last major amendments to the standing orders adopted by the council and approved by the Governor occurred in 1999, when they were rewritten to incorporate gender-neutral language.

The Standing Orders Committee may convene on the initiative of its membership, and this may come from the persuasive urging of other members of the council to consider the standing orders and possible amendments thereto. I understand, at various times in debates in the council during this session, individual members have reflected on the value of reviewing certain standing orders and their application.

I am aware of some particular matters that members have raised or communicated requesting consideration by the Standing Orders Committee, and the Clerk has advised of one formal request he has received for the committee to consider a particular matter. As such, I will be speaking with members of the committee, canvassing their views on convening a meeting of the committee at a convenient time, appreciating the heavy workloads that members experience around this time of the year.

Lastly, while I note the brief explanation to the question made reference to the Standing Orders Committee of the House of Assembly, the proceedings of that committee are a matter for that house and not necessarily something by which the council needs to measure itself.

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