Questions depend on better answers: Pyne

A WIDER range of questions would be asked by the Coalition - rather than just on carbon tax and asylum seekers - if acting Speaker Anna Burke forced government ministers to answer questions properly, according to the manager of opposition business, Christopher Pyne.

Last week, Mr Pyne's colleague Malcolm Turnbull lamented the fact that question time was dominated by the carbon tax and asylum seekers.

''If the Deputy Speaker, Anna Burke, would hold the government, the Prime Minister and her ministers to account, to be [relevant], then the frustration would be a lot less than it is at the moment,'' Mr Pyne told the ABC's Insiders program.

He said Ms Burke, who is acting Speaker while Peter Slipper stands aside over allegations of sexual harassment and improper conduct, needed ''to be much more on the job'' of making the government answer questions.

''I think Harry Jenkins and Peter Slipper did more to make sure that relevance was maintained by the frontbench. In fact, they sat down the Prime Minister and ministers on very regular occasions. And once you've been sat down a couple of times I think you'd try and be more relevant.''

The recently updated House handbook of parliamentary practice shows that only three MPs have been given special multi-day suspension by the House, twice in 1913 and in 1987, over remarks about the Speaker. To do this a motion would have to be moved and passed. Not criticising the Speaker is a convention, not a law.

Mr Pyne has been kicked out of Parliament six times this year, three times by Ms Burke. Last year he was ejected nine times.

Ms Burke's office said it would be inappropriate to comment, but the Leader of the House, Anthony Albanese, said ''the Noalition'' had no respect for the institution of Parliament or any of the Westminister traditions.

''They have regularly abandoned question time in favour of pointless and monotonous attempts to suspend standing orders,'' he said.

''For them Parliament is just an opportunity to rehearse their three-word slogans, a fact exposed in recent days by Mr Turnbull.''

Mr Pyne defended the fact that few shadow ministers asked questions on their portfolios. ''It's not like pass the parcel. The questions people ask … are the ones [for] which the government needs to be most held to account. And on the cost of living, the carbon tax, the Prime Minister's integrity, border protection, these are the key issues,'' he said.

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