House of Review to lose solid foundations by Labor’s move to limit scrutiny

Sep 8, 2021 | State News, Steve Thomas MLC

The Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Dr Steve Thomas has highlighted the Labor Government’s contempt for due process in the State’s Upper House by using their numbers of members to ram through changes to limit legislative scrutiny.

Dr Thomas said the move was in the face of an attempt by the Opposition to save the reputation and procedures of the House of Review.

“The Labor Party has demonstrated its arrogance by requiring the Upper House to endorse all of the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Procedure and Privileges in a single vote instead of allowing debate on each recommendation in turn,” Dr Thomas said.

“There is a long precedent of seeking consensus in changing the standing orders, which the Labor Party had already thrown out – they have now doubled down by seeking to shut down debate when it suits them.

“The Labor Party is flying in the face of both convention and real accountability, showing its arrogance in the process.”
Dr Thomas said the report of the Committee highlights the intent of the Government to impose “an urgency mechanism to bring debate to a close”.*

“Not only is that now being rammed through, but it is being done without due consideration,” Dr Thomas said.
“By limiting vital scrutiny, the Government has ensured that for the first time in WA’s history the State’s Lower House will have greater accountability and more respect for its processes than the so-called House of Review.

“I moved to have the 38 recommendations of the report dealt with individually or in groups, but Labor used its numbers to ram their agenda through yet again. It should be noted that in a repudiation of the Government every member of the cross bench and every Party except Labor supported the motion and voted to examine the recommendations individually.”

“The Government was also on their own in a failed vote on our motion to remove their ability to guillotine debate at their whim.”

“In this case, the Government wins, but democracy and accountability lose.”