STANDING ORDERS CHAPTER 5

SITTINGS AND ADJOURNMENT OF THE HOUSE

28 Initial quorum

 

The Speaker may only take the Chair and start a meeting of the House at the appointed time if a quorum of members is present.[2] If there is still no quorum half an hour after that time, the Speaker must take the Chair and adjourn the House at once to the next sitting day.

29 Lack of quorum in the House

 

(1)

If a member draws attention to the lack of a quorum when the House is sitting, the Chair must count the members present and, if there is no quorum, the procedure is as follows:

 

 

(a)

the bells are rung with the doors unlocked;

 

 

(b)

no member may leave the Chamber;

 

 

(c)

if, after the bells have been rung, the Speaker is of the opinion that a quorum will not be formed, he or she must adjourn the House until the next sitting day without putting the question.

 

(2)

If the lack of a quorum becomes clear on the report of a division of the House, the Speaker must adjourn the House until the next sitting day without putting the question.

30 Disposal of business on adjournment for lack of quorum

 

When the House is adjourned for lack of a quorum, business under discussion and business not disposed of takes precedence on the next day of sitting.

31 When the House may adjourn

 

The House can only be adjourned:

 

(1)

By the Speaker under SO 29, without putting a question, for lack of a quorum.

 

(2)

By the Speaker under SO 129, without putting a question, where there is grave disorder.

 

(3)

By the Clerk under SOs 7 and 14, without putting a question, during the election of a Speaker.

 

(4)

After a motion 'That the House now adjourns' has been:

 

 

(a)

moved by a minister; or

 

 

(b)

proposed by the Speaker under SO 32.

32 Interruption at 10.00 pm for adjournment

 

(1)

At 10.00 pm each sitting day, unless a division is taking place, the Speaker will interrupt the business before the House.

 

(2)

If a division is taking place at 10.00 pm, it will be completed and the result announced. If the division is on a closure motion, and the motion is agreed to, the question or questions then required to be put to close the issue before the House will also be dealt with. The Speaker will then interrupt business.

 

(3)

After the interruption:

 

 

(a)

before a motion for the adjournment is proposed by the Speaker, a minister may move that the sitting be continued. That motion must be put immediately without amendment or debate. If it is agreed to, the House will resume debate at the point at which it had been interrupted; or

 

 

(b)

if a motion is not moved, the Speaker will immediately propose the question 'That the House now adjourns'. Any business under discussion and any other business not concluded at the time of the adjournment will be listed on the notice paper for the next sitting day. Any member speaking at the time of the interruption may, when debate resumes, continue his or her speech.

33 Adjournment debate

 

Following an adjournment motion proposed by a minister under SO31(4)(a) or by the Speaker under SO 32:

 

(1)

The question 'That the House now adjourns' may be debated and any debate will last for a maximum of 30 minutes or until 10 members have spoken, whichever is the shorter. Subject to such overall time period, the time limit for each member speaking in the debate is three minutes. Immediately afterwards a period of 30 minutes in total will be provided for ministers to respond.

 

(2)

At the end of any debate, the Speaker will adjourn the House, without putting any question, until the next sitting day.

 

(3)

If the minister responsible is not present in the House to respond to issues raised by members, the minister must provide a written response within 30 days by delivering it to the Clerk. The Clerk must give the response to the member who raised the issue and electronically publish the response.