Push to reduce speech times

Launceston independent MLC Rosemary Armitage has declared she will move to restrict speaking time to 30 minutes on a motion or question, in line with House of Assembly time limits.

MLCs routinely speak for more than double that and controversial bills such as legislation on forestry, same-sex marriage and decriminilisation of abortion have really stretched observers' attention spans.

Ms Armitage also serves on Launceston City Council where alderman have just five minutes to state their case with an option of a three-minute extension.

``Local government has taught me that you can make an effective and efficient contribution in a short time,'' Ms Armitage said. ``At times we can all be guilty of verbosity, but as we do have limited sitting days per year, it is essential that we make the most of the time we have, and cut our cloth to suit.''

The move to cut speeches short follows criticism of the upper house for failing to get through a gruelling legislative agenda before the end of the year.

Ms Armitage intends to bring on the proposal for debate when parliament returns next year.

``Our aim should always be to stay relevant, deal with the facts and present our argument in a timely manner.''

Legislative Council president Jim Wilkinson defended the upper house's handling of the huge workload and doubted that time limits would result in more legislation approved.

``If we want to make good legislation, we have got to give it good consideration,'' Mr Wilkinson said.

He said some members would struggle more than others to conform to a time limit.

``Different people have different styles. But when you go on too long people turn off and don't listen and so you're point of view goes missing,'' he said.

While debates on contentious issues have stretched over several days, Mr Wilkinson said long speeches were rarely a problem.

Dealing with numerous amendments, which members are entitled to speak on three times, was the most time consuming part, he said.

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