Wellington: Pollies should answer questions put to them
QUEENSLAND Speaker Fiona Simpson has rejected criticism she did not require government members and ministers to give relevant answers to questions put to them in Parliament.
Nicklin Independent Peter Wellington yesterday called for an amendment to Parliament's standing orders to put a greater emphasis on those answering questions to do so in a relevant and complete manner.
"It really is a failing of the current system,'' Mr Wellington said.
"With the current system of one house of parliament where the gov
ernment controls all the committees, the scrutiny is harder to apply.''
He said even where members raised a point of order for the Speaker to rule on relevance, ministers were still able to answer as they chose.
"They can go off on a tangent,'' Mr Wellington said. "It certainly is better than 30 years ago. Some ministers are better than others but the Premier would rate a D-minus."
Ms Simpson, who has been Speaker since the start of this parliamentary term in March, 2012, said if Mr Wellington had concerns he had not raised them with her.
She said her door was literally open and if he had issues he should talk to her about them.
"Peter Wellington is always welcome to sit down and talk, as are both sides and the crossbenchers,'' Ms Simpson said.
"If a member wants to discuss any of my rulings, that's a discussion they should have with me first.''
Ms Simpson said she was happy to provide feedback on any of the rulings she gave in the House.
"A member can raise on standing orders the issue of relevance,'' she said. "I can direct a member to answer but how they answer is not something I can proscribe. That's freedom of speech."
Ms Simpson said she could appreciate that some members might not like the answer they received in response to a question.