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  • Rikki Lambert

Albanese government in the wars, keeping federal parliament on ice

The PM's overseas trips have kept him away from the dispatch box in Canberra

The scheduled 2022 federal parliamentary sitting days are at level barely seen outside World War I and II years, the federal opposition claimed on Tuesday.

Research from the Parliamentary Library indicates the planned 34 Senate sitting days and 40 House of Representatives sitting days, tallied together at 74 days, sits fifth lowest on record.

Shadow assistant minister for regional development, Anne Webster said:

"Seriously - what kind of accountability can Opposition hold the Albanese govenrment to when we have so many crises its hard to number them all - energy, floods, COVID-19 management, national security, foot and mouth disease, varroa mite - we want to know what the government is doing.
"We need to be able to ask the appropriate questions to hold them to account."

The supplied data indicates 1937 had the least combined sitting days at 56, followed by 1934 (57), 1916 (65) then 1925 with 67.

Beyond the current 74 days scheduled to complete 2022, 1940 had 77 days, 1942 amassed 79 and 1943 saw 83 sitting days.

The last full calendar year of the Morrison government - 2021 - saw both houses sit for 52 days, and the House an additional 11 days, a total by the same measure of 119 days. 2020 comprised 104 sitting days by the same metric, and the last election year, 2019, 85 sitting days.

The Nationals member for Mallee told local Flow listeners the 2022 schedule lacks the opportunity for scrutiny the incoming government needs - particularly with the federal budget being re-cast in October.

Hear the full interview with Anne Webster on the Flow podcast player below:

The former Coalition government sat for 309 days in the 46th parliament, 308 in the 45th and 334 in the 44th - the same as the 43rd hung parliament, Labor's last previous term in office.

An Albanese government spokesman described the Coalition's criticism as 'laughable' due to the Morrison Coalition government sitting for just 10 days before the 21 May election, saying:

"Now that Labor is in power Parliament will sit for 8 weeks between July and December – which is the same number of weeks the previous Government proposed for the second half of this year in their own calendar."

The first Morrison Coalition government also sat for 10 days before the 18 May 2019 election, whereas the Turnbull Coalition government sat for 24 days before the 2 July 2016 federal election

The last Labor government sat for 21 sitting days for the year (24 in the Senate) prior to a 7 September federal election, whilst the preceding Labor government sat for 24 sitting days before a 21 August 2010 federal election.


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