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Question Time

A key function of the Parliament is to question and monitor the activities of the government. This is achieved through the daily Questions Without Notice in both houses.

Opposition members and government backbenchers are able to ask questions of government ministers about their official duties.

This occasion is one of the few times when all members appear in the chamber. Question Time is telecast live and is the main window that members of the public have into the operation of the parliament.

Question Time has been criticised because of its boisterous nature and because it is seen as an occasion where both sides attempt to score points rather than extract or provide information. The pre-arranged, “friendly” questions asked by government members, known as Dorothy Dixers, is often criticised, although it is difficult to see how these can be curtailed without infringing on the rights of government members to ask questions.

Members may also submit written questions, known as Questions On Notice, which ministers are required to answer in writing.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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