Resumed from 12 September on the following motion moved by Hon Martin Aldridge —
A. That a proposed amendment to standing order 6(3) be considered by the house in the following terms —
(3) When the Council is adjourned the President:
(a) may on the request of the Leader of the House and after consultation with the leaders of all parties vary the day and time at which the Council may next meet; or
(b) shall, at the written request of an absolute majority of the whole number of Members that the Council meet at a certain day and time, fix a day and time of meeting in accordance with that request.
(4) When varying or fixing a day and time of meeting not less than 4 days’ notice shall be given to each Member.
(5) For the purposes of (3)(b):
(a) A request by the leader or deputy leader of a party in the Council shall be deemed to be a request by every member of that party who is a member of the Council.
(b) A request may be made to the President by delivery to the Clerk, who shall immediately notify the President.
(c) If the President is unavailable, the Clerk shall notify the Deputy President, or, should the Deputy President be unavailable, any one of the Deputy Chairs of Committees, who shall be required to summon the Council on behalf of the President, in accordance with this temporary order.
B. That the proposed amendment is referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and Privileges for consideration and report within three months.
[Speeches and comments from various members]
HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [1.56 pm]: Like other members in this place who have already spoken, it was certainly my understanding that there was at least agreement to the context of the motion to amend what is in front of us. I understand that when we were originally talking about moving this amendment, we were considering inviting parties to participate. It is my understanding that the advice is that we cannot invite people on to the Standing Committee on Procedure and Privileges; we need to actively co-opt members in order for it to be valid. I am persuaded by that advice. I am quite happy to listen to the advice given by the Clerk. As such, I recognise that we need to ensure that we have some certainty around the membership of the procedure and privileges committee for the purposes of being able to discuss the proposed standing order.
I want to make some comments about the current make-up of the procedure and privileges committee and advise members that when we were considering the early allocation of membership of committees, the Greens indicated that we wanted to be on the procedure and privileges committee, but due to the sheer number of members in this house and the enormous juggling that went into trying to meet the various wishes of the parties around their preferences, it turned out that we missed out on procedure and privileges. Instead, I was invited to participate on the Joint Standing Committee on the Corruption and Crime Commission, which was a very uncontroversial decision. The Greens had sought to be part of this committee from the beginning.
I want to respond to one of the comments made by Hon Rick Mazza; that is, it is difficult for the Greens to actively participate in the deliberations of the procedure and privileges committee through the deliberations that they have undertaken during this Parliament. We have availed ourselves of the opportunity to put forward submissions around decisions that are being made, but it is not the same as being around the table, participating in those discussions and being able to be heard. As such, the Greens would absolutely welcome the opportunity to sit around the table with our parliamentary colleagues to talk about these sorts of matters.
One of the precious conventions of this house is that as far as practicable we try to achieve consensus when talking about amendments to the standing orders of how we operate in this place. That is a good convention that we should be respectful of. But to achieve true consensus, we need to hear from all parties that will be duly affected. This amendment will allow that occur. I do not know whether there is perhaps room for additional amendment around this. I do not propose to put forward another amendment, but I simply put on the table that if there is genuine concern about the sheer number of members looking to be co-opted on to the Standing Committee on Procedure and Privileges for the purposes of discussing the proposed amendment to standing orders, maybe we need to at least look at the parties that do not currently have any representation on the procedure and privileges committee— One Nation, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens—and it may be that we simply extend the opportunity for those parties to have representation. I have said that I have not had the opportunity to talk to the other parties that would be affected by that—namely, the Nationals WA; Hon Rick Mazza of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party WA; the Labor Party and the Liberal Party. Without having had the opportunity to speak to members of those parties to see whether that is the sort of thing that needs to be contemplated, I am most certainly not prepared to move an amendment to that effect.
I suggest that the Greens need to be represented on that committee in whichever form that occurs. If we are given the choice of supporting the proposed amendment or not having the Greens there at all, I ask that we please stick with the arrangement that I thought had been agreed that will at least enable all parties to be represented on the procedure and privileges committee.
[Speeches and comments from various members]
Question put and passed.