At the request of Senator Hume, I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 370, relating to attendance by a minister.
I move the motion as amended:
That the Senate:
- Notes that:
a. The Senate Economics Legislation Committee resolved that questions taken on notice during Budget Estimates in May 2023 be provided to the Committee by 14 July 2023.
b. There were 12 responses to questions on notice from Budget Estimates in May 2023 tabled the day before or the day of the commencement of Treasury portfolio Additional Budget Estimates on 25 October 2023;
c. There were a further four responses to questions taken on notice that had not been provided to the Committee at the commencement of Treasury portfolio additional Budget Estimates; and
d. Evidence provided to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee during Additional Budget Estimates shows that responses to all these questions were provided to the approving Minister's office by no later than 17 July 2023, and the majority by 29 June 2023.
Requires the Minister representing the Treasurer to attend the Chamber at following the conclusion of motions to take note of answers on Wednesday, 8 November 2023, to provide an explanation, of no more than 10 minutes, of the failure to comply with the resolution of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee;
Any senator may move to take note of the explanation required by paragraph 2; and
Any motion under paragraph 3 may be debated for no longer than 30 minutes, shall have precedence over all business until resolved, and senators may speak to the motion for not more than 10 minutes each.
I seek leave to make a short statement.
Leave is granted for one minute.
The government does not support this motion from Senator Hume. There is an existing right under standing order 74(5) for Senator Hume to seek an explanation for unanswered questions on notice. This has been available to her on any sitting day since the deadline set by the committee for the return of answers passed. The Senate should avoid going around its own standing orders in the way proposed by Senator Hume.
Senate estimates questions on notice have increased to more than 19,000 in the first year of the Albanese government. We have answered all questions from the October 2022 budget estimates and the February 2023 supplementary budget estimates. In regard to the May 2023 budget estimates hearings, our government has now answered over 8½ thousand of the 8,600 questions—2,500 of which were asked by Senator Hume. Compare that to the Morrison government which, for the equivalent budget estimates in May 2021, answered only 67 per cent of questions by the due date.
The question is that Senator Hume's general business notice of motion No. 370, as amended and moved by Senator Askew, be agreed to.
Date and time: 4:01 PM on 2023-11-07
Senator Pocock's vote: Aye
Total number of "aye" votes: 42
Total number of "no" votes: 21
Total number of abstentions: 13
Adapted from information made available by theyvoteforyou.org.au