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Order of Business

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Senator Kieran O'Donnell

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

Ministers come here quite frequently. Invariably, many of the debates are adjourned. It would be good practice for a Minister to be given the last five minutes of every debate in which to respond. The debate on broadband last week involving the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources contained very new and fresh information. The questions put from the floor were very insightful and the debate was cutting edge, yet the Minister did not respond at the end and the debate was adjourned. By the time the Minister comes back, much of the information will be stale and old. We speak about Seanad reform. I firmly believe a key focus should be on amending the way we do business in the House to make it more relevant and fresher. From now on, if a Minister comes here for a debate involving many speakers, he or she should respond during the five minutes at the end of the debate. If we adjourn it, the Minister should come back again. We had a very insightful debate last week on broadband to which the Minister did not respond. That debate was in the other House two hours later and all the work we did here was stale. If we are doing the work, the House is entitled to get feedback and rewards for the effort we put in. This is a very small measure that could yield substantial benefits to the House and the public looking in. I want us to be seen as being increasingly relevant. Debate and questioning here are of a high quality, but they are of no use unless we hear from the Minister on the day.