The House Standing Committee on Procedure has tabled its report reviewing parliamentary practice and procedure to implement recommendations 10 and 27 of Set the Standard. These recommendations, by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, related to eliminating sexist, exclusionary or discriminatory language, behaviour and practices in the Chamber and improving safety and respect, as well as looking at the sitting calendar and order of business.
“Set the Standard built a case for change across Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces. The recommendations in our report aim to create change in the Chamber itself—by strengthening the Speaker’s powers, clarifying expectations and improving Members’ understanding—and to raise the standard in the House,” said Committee Chair Hon Shayne Neumann MP. “This includes recommending amendments to the standing orders to make it clearer that Members must not use discriminatory language against each other.”
Deputy Chair Mr Ross Vasta MP said, “The report proposes practical and sensible changes to the standing orders.”
“To expand the Speaker’s toolkit for managing misbehaviour in the Chamber, the Committee has recommended amendments to standing order 94(a). In addition to the current one-hour withdrawal period, the ability to exclude a Member for three hours would provide the Speaker with more options to address disorderly conduct swiftly and proportionally,” Mr Vasta elaborated.
“While the Committee has not recommended changes to sitting hours, the Committee will maintain a watching brief on the hours and days of sitting to monitor the careful balance between making the most of Members’ time in Canberra and maintaining wellbeing and safety,” Mr Neumann noted.
The Committee made a number of other recommendations, including that training and guidance material for Members be reviewed to ensure Members are aware of their obligations and how they can draw potentially disorderly conduct to the Speaker’s attention.
The Committee having made its recommendations, it is now a matter for the House of Representatives whether it wishes to consider making any changes to the Standing Orders.
The report and further information about the inquiry can be found on the Committee’s website.
Hon Shayne Neumann MP (Chair)
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