Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament—Third Report of CommitteePublished on 1 February 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Joan Fraser
Hon. Joan Fraser:
Honourable senators, I will say a few words and then adjourn for the balance of my time, until tomorrow.
In response to Senator McInnis’s impassioned remarks a few moments ago, I wanted to explain how the Rules Committee has been tackling things in light of the reports from the Modernization Committee. I share his view, and I think the members of the Rules Committee pretty well unanimously share the view that these items should be debated properly in the Senate, that, on many of these items, the Rules Committee did not feel it appropriate to proceed without some guidance as to the will of the Senate at large.
We have, however, looked at some of the recommendations that seemed, to us, to be entirely uncontroversial, and we have attempted to move on those. Before Christmas, we moved the report of the Rules Committee arising out of the Modernization Committee’s report on broadcasting, and this report, the one to which I’m speaking now, is in response to Recommendation No. 17. It has to do with the Order Paper, and I shall try to explain tomorrow why working under a slightly revised version of the Order Paper would simplify everybody’s life in this place. We believe that that is also non-controversial.
We have looked at the recommendation concerning omnibus bills because I think there is wide agreement that there has been an abuse of the use of omnibus bills under several governments. That one has turned out to be a little bit more complicated to translate into actual language for the Rules than we expected, but I wanted to assure colleagues who share Senator McInnis’s concern that, while we await guidance from the Senate at large on the heftier recommendations, if you will, we have been trying to move ahead where we could because we agree that many of these recommendations are very important. Some of them are no- brainers, and let’s do them. With that, I move the adjournment for the balance of my time.