HON SUE ELLERY (South Metropolitan — Leader of the House) [2.14 pm] — without notice: I move —
If, following agreement with the party leaders or members deputed, the Leader of the House or the member deputed by the leader advises the house that it is necessary to introduce a government bill or undertake any other immediate business arising from or in connection to COVID-19, the following temporary order shall apply in respect of those matters —
(1) any business then before the house, other than formal business, a matter of privilege, or a motion subject to standing order 67 shall be adjourned to a later hour;
(2) any such bill may be introduced without notice and shall proceed through its stages at dates and times determined by the house;
(3) any such bill the subject of a message from the Legislative Assembly may be taken into consideration on the day on which it is received;
(4) on any sitting day, and after first consulting with the party leaders or members deputed, the President may order that one or more of the following items of business in the order of business for that day be dispensed with —
(a) non-government business;
(b) private members’ business; and
(c) consideration of committee reports;
(5) if ordered, the Council shall sit beyond the following times on the days specified until members’ statements are called by the President and, in such case, standing order 5(5) applies —
Tuesday - 9.45 pm;
Wednesday - 6.20 pm; and
Thursday - 5.20 pm;
(6) after first consulting with the party leaders or their representatives, the Leader of the House or a member deputed may set maximum time limits for each stage of a bill or a motion and on the expiry of that maximum time limit, all questions relating to the stage of a bill or motion, including any amendment, shall be put and determined seriatim;
(7) a requirement for notice to be given in respect of any motion to be moved by the Leader of the House or a minister is dispensed with;
(8) that, in the event that a scheduled sitting day of the house does not take place, the usual process for questions on notice that would have occurred on that day shall still occur;
(9) standing orders are suspended accordingly to the extent necessary to effect these arrangements; and
(10) this temporary order to apply until 27 November 2020 or the lifting of the state of emergency declared in Western Australia arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, whichever occurs first.
Comments and speeches by various members
HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [2.42 pm]: I rise on behalf of the Greens to indicate that we will also be supporting this temporary order. However, I will state that it is not without some reservations about how the debates may potentially unfold. As members have already said, we are, of course, in extraordinary times, and, for many, quite devastating times as well. It is with that heavy heart that I and my colleagues recognise that we also have to look at extraordinary measures within this chamber in order to ensure that we are urgently addressing legislation that is most likely to ensure that lives, businesses and livelihoods are saved, and we can best set ourselves up to move forward.
Nevertheless, I want to indicate that even though we are looking at truncated debate times, and in many instances will not have had the opportunity to give the bills the full scrutiny that they would otherwise require, it means that, of course, we need to ensure that we are very careful and sober in our thinking about the bills before us—that we are dealing with issues that genuinely need to be dealt with around COVID-19, but are not necessarily putting in place regimes that are not intended as we go into the future.
I am mindful that we still have an onerous responsibility in this chamber to ensure that we are crafting and passing legislation that has been comprehensively considered, and I am expressing concern to make sure that we are able to do that to the best of our ability, even within the limited debate periods that are going to be made available to us, because we still have to ensure that we are meeting our responsibilities as the people who create the statutes that define this state.
Comments and speeches by various members
Question put and passed with an absolute majority.