Chapter 10 : Questions
Chapter 10: Questions
Rules for questions
Any Member may ask Ministers questions relating to public affairs, matters under the Minister’s administration and proceedings in the House for which they have carriage.
Questions may also be asked to the chair of a committee in relation to the affairs of the committee.
Questions should be brief and ask directly for the information sought.
Questions should not contain:
- Statements of facts or names of persons unless they are strictly necessary to render the question intelligible and can be authenticated;
- Expression of opinion or ironical expressions; or
- Hypothetical matter.
Questions should not ask for:
- an expression of opinion;
- legal opinion;
- an announcement of Government policy; or
- confirmation of rumour or media reports.
At 2.15 p.m. each sitting day, after a few formalities, Members are able to ask Ministers questions in the House.
The Leader of the Opposition is entitled to ask the first question. Any Member may then seek the call to ask a question. The usual practice is for questions to be asked alternatively between the Government and non-Government Members. Independent Members are allocated a number of questions each week proportionate to their numbers as part of the non-Government allocation.
The duration of Question Time is limited to 45 minutes or the answering of 10 questions, whichever is the later.
An answer to a question must not exceed five minutes. However, the Member who asked the question may, at the discretion of the Speaker, seek additional information from the Minister. The Minister's response on the additional information must not exceed two minutes.
The Speaker has discretion at any time during a Minister's answer to order that the timing clock be paused.
One supplementary question may be asked each Question Time. A supplementary question must be asked by the Member asking the original question and the answer to it counts towards the 10 answers.
At the end of Question Time Ministers may provide additional information to an answer already given that day or at a previous sitting.
Written questions are published in the Questions and Answers Paper and the same rules in relation to content are applicable as to questions asked during Question Time.
Questions must be handed in writing to a Clerk at the Table or lodged in the Table Office by 12.00 noon.
Members can lodge nine questions each sitting week (the Leader of the Opposition twelve).
Ministers must answer questions within 35 calendar days or will be asked to explain to the House why they have failed to answer a question.
A question containing argument, unbecoming expressions or otherwise not conforming with the practice of the House may, under the authority of the Speaker, be amended by the Clerk or divided if it contains matters that are not relevant to each other.
A Member can withdraw a written question with the leave of the House at the end of the placing or disposal of business procedure. A Member cannot withdraw another Member’s written question.
- Chapter 14 New South Wales Legislative Assembly Practice, Procedure and Privilege;
- Procedural Note No. 5 – Written Questions;
- Standing Orders 126-132 (as amended by sessional orders).
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