Skip navigation

AGAINST – Business - Standing orders - Don't let a vote happen

The majority voted in favour of disagreeing with an Opposition motion introduced by Bradfield MP Paul Fletcher (Liberal) to suspend the standing orders so as to allow another motion to amend the standing orders to be considered immediately. Standing orders are the usual procedural rules of parliament. The result of the vote means that the House will not proceed to debate and vote on that subsequent motion.

In arguing for the suspension of standing orders, Paul Fletcher argued:

This is demonstrably a matter of urgency. We have just had a change to the standing orders made on the basis of a series of arguments put by the Leader of the House and, indeed, by the crossbench, which argued that it's been the conduct of the opposition—it was said—which meant there had been a reduction in the effective number of questions that members of the crossbench were able to ask. […]

As I have explained to the House, the practical consequence of the change which has just been made is that there will be a reduction in the effective number of questions which are open to the opposition to ask every day. Standing order 65(a) is predicated on the assumption that there will be 22 questions. But the fact is that the conduct we've seen from the government and from the Prime Minister is, typically, that question time is being brought to an end after 20 questions or after 18 questions. Indeed, today, question time was brought to an end after 18 questions.

I emphasise that the opposition and the crossbench have a shared interest in scrutiny. We have a shared interest in accountability. The crossbench are here to represent the interests of their constituents. The opposition are here to represent the interests of our constituents. Indeed, in a Westminster system there is a very strong interest in the government being subject to the day-to-day scrutiny of an informed opposition and of an informed crossbench. I think we have a shared interest in as much practical and effective scrutiny as there can be of the government of the day.

Motion text

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent the Manager of Opposition Business from moving the following motion forthwith:

That standing order 97 be amended by the addition of a new paragraph, standing order 97(c), to read as follows:

Question time must not be concluded before 3.30 pm each day.


Date and time: 4:27 PM on 2022-09-05
Allegra Spender's vote: No
Total number of "aye" votes: 73
Total number of "no" votes: 70
Total number of abstentions: 8

Adapted from information made available by

Continue Reading