Speaker Declines SIS Snap Debate

by Desk Editor on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 — 11:42 AM

On 05 November 2015 the Speaker David Carter announced he had received a letter from James Shaw seeking to debate under Standing Order 389 the findings in the annual report of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

The Speaker’s ruling is as follows:

“The findings are a particular case of recent occurrence involving ministerial responsibility. The big hurdle to get over in applications for urgent debates is whether the matter has reached the stage where the business of the House ought to be set aside. The test is a high one. There must be an element of urgency or substantive policy change for the matter to take precedence over other business. Although the report indicates there are some areas for improvement in the operation of the SIS, I am not persuaded that the setting aside of the business of the House for an urgent debate can be justified today.

“One factor in deciding whether to allow an urgent debate is that the intelligence and security agencies are subject to very little parliamentary scrutiny. I note that the report states that the inspector-general is undertaking several inquiries into important aspects of the operations of the security and intelligence agencies. The final reports on those inquiries may warrant the attention of the House, depending on their findings.

“The application today is, therefore, declined.”

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