Burnett MP Stephen Bennett slams new sitting hours.
Burnett MP Stephen Bennett slams new sitting hours. TAHLIA STEHBENS

Less MP hours impacts 'scrutiny'

BURNETT MP Stephen Bennett has slammed a move by the State Government to cut back on sitting weeks in Queensland Parliament, saying the new hours are not family friendly for regional MPs.

Mr Bennett said the changes, which were passed in State Parliament on Thursday, meant that the government would escape accountability and foster a "culture of cover-up and secrecy”.

The changes mean Queensland MPs will sit from 9.30am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday until 7.30pm on Tuesday and Wednesday and 6.30pm on Thursday.

Committee meetings will be held on Monday and lunch breaks will be cut by 30 minutes to an hour.

Members of parliament will sit for 26 hours per week during parliamentary sittings.

The motion was put forward by Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath who said this was about making parliament more efficient.

She said the changes would ensure the public could watch parliament make important decisions during daylight rather than have important debates and decisions made at 2am.

"It is about time that we had a sensible, respectful and adult conversation about what reasonable working times are for this chamber, which is what this motion to change sessional orders seeks to achieve,” she said.

"It is about time that the Queensland parliament comes into line with many other jurisdictions.”

But Mr Bennett said he "morally” opposed the changes.

"Parliament will now be cut back to just 10 sitting weeks this year, meaning there will be less time to examine legislation by the parliament,” he said.

"Less time in the house means less time for scrutiny of legislation and other important matters, and less outcomes for Queenslanders.

"These changes only further fuel my concerns that the Palaszczuk government only cares about Brisbane and gives our regions the scraps.

Mr Bennett said the changes meant regional members would need to travel down on a Sunday to attend committee meetings.



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