Australian Labor agrees to parliamentary reform demands

11:23, September 05, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Australian Labor Party on Sunday agreed to the parliamentary reform proposals put forward by one of the key independents, Rob Oakeshott.

Oakeshott has released a draft version of the parliamentary reform paper he has been working on with both major parties, and said he is hopeful both sides are about to agree to change the way Parliament works.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese on Sunday declared that Labor has already agreed to the proposals, while Oakeshott wants the document signed before he announces which side he will back to form a minority government.

Under the proposal, if the speaker is from one of the major parties, the deputy would be from the other side, and both would then stop going to their party-room meetings.

There would also be a move to ensure whichever party the speaker comes from would not be disadvantaged by losing their vote.

"It involves 30-second questions and a three-minute limit on answers, it involves amending the standing orders so that answers and questions will have to be more directly relevant to the question," Albanese told Channel Nine on Sunday.

"It will ensure that the speaker has the power to rule out questions that are argumentative or don't ask for issues of fact."

Other measures include forcing the government to respond to committee reports within six months, and all new bills would go to a committee before they are introduced to the house.

There would also be a parliamentary budget office to do independent costings.

Oakeshott and his fellow incumbent independents Bob Katter and Tony Windsor are yet to formally declare which side they will support.

The newly elected Greens' Member of Parliament (MP) Adam Bandt, and independent MP Andrew Wilkie has declared to support Labor to form a minority government last week.

It means Labor can now claim 74 seats in the 150-member lower house of parliament. A total of at least 76 seats is needed for either party to form a government on their own.

The opposition coalition has 73 seats, but it could still win the race to form a government if the three remaining independents line up behind its leader, Tony Abbott.



  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Players of Iran throw up their coach Velasco Julio during the awarding ceremony at the 16th Asian Men's Volleyball Championship in Tehran, capital of Iran, Sept. 29, 2011. Iran won the champion after beating China 3-1 in the final on Thursday. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)
  • Greek artists burn copies of emergency tax notices during a protest against austerity measures in Athens, Greece, on Sept. 29, 2011. The Greek government is facing a new wave of protests as it introduces new austerity measures to obtain the sixth tranche of aids necessary to overcome the acute debt crisis.(Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
  • A winner of the 36th Miss Bikini International 2011 poses for a photo at the Olympic Sailing Center in Qingdao, a coastal city of east China's Shandong Province, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Chen Jianli)
  • Staff members are in position at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 29, 2011. Commander-in-chief of China's manned space program Chang Wanquan announced Thursday night that the launch of Tiangong-1 space lab module was successful. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)
  • Champion of Miss Bikini from Poland receives trophy at the final of the 36th Miss Bikini International World Competition in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, Sept. 28, 2011. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 28, 2011 shows autumn scenery of populus euphratica forests in Ejina Banner, north China's Inner Mongolia. The populus euphratica forests here, with an area of 390,000 mu, or 26,000 hectares, is one of the world's most famous populus euphratica forests. The golden leaves and sunshines here in autumn is able to attract more than 100,000 person-times annually. (Xinhua/Zhao Tingting)
Hot Forum Discussion