Nick Goiran delivers ‘huge’ Parliament filibuster on surrogacy laws lasting 12 hours and running

Updated April 03, 2019 19:34:20

A West Australian MP whose parliamentary speech has already lasted more than 12 hours and included in excess of 85,000 words is facing accusations of acting selfishly and wasting Parliament’s time.

Key points:

  • On one day alone, Nick Goiran spoke for a total of almost five-and-a-half hours
  • He is opposing the WA Government’s planned changed to surrogacy laws
  • Labor says his actions are selfish and a waste of parliamentary time

Liberal Party MP Nick Goiran is yet to finish his speech in the Legislative Council on surrogacy law reform, but it has already stretched across four sitting days and taken up more than 100 pages of transcript.

That is more time that it would take to read the entire first book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, aloud.

The Goiran filibuster by the numbers:

  • More than 85,000 words
  • 108 pages of transcript
  • Four days of debate
  • 12 hours of parliamentary time
  • Five hours and 20 minutes across one day alone
  • Two stints of more than two hours speaking uninterrupted

Mr Goiran is set to continue when debate resumes in the Upper House this evening, with no restrictions in place for how long he can speak for.

The lengthy speech has been broken up into several chunks, in line with parliamentary procedure, including multiple uninterrupted sections lasting longer than two hours, and one day where Mr Goiran spoke for a total of nearly five-and-a-half hours.

His remarks have included reading a 1,300-word extract from an article by a conservative American think tank on a case in the United States.

He also read another 600 words from a separate piece on the same topic, as well as quoting at length from various reports on surrogacy and examining the law in each Australian state in detail.

Goiran speech selfish, Labor says

Mr Goiran’s speech about the bill, which would allow single men and same sex couples access to altruistic surrogacy arrangements, has prompted strong condemnation from the McGowan Government.

“If one person decides to use up huge amounts of time in just the first part of what will be a long debate anyway, it is selfish,” Labor’s Upper House leader Sue Ellery said.

But Mr Goiran is showing no signs of slowing down, and said he intended to keep going to give MPs time to read a surrogacy review only just published by the Government, before the bill comes to a vote.

“The purpose is to expose the reprehensible conduct of the Government with this bill,” Mr Goiran said.

“This Government was caught out hiding a bill that cost taxpayers a quarter of a million dollars.”

Asked how long he intended to keep speaking, Mr Goiran said the Government had 10 weeks to consider the surrogacy report, and MPs should get the same.

“[MPs] have had approximately 10 days. I think it is utterly reasonable for the Members of Parliament to have just as long,” he said.

Nahan defends ‘mother of all reviews’

Liberal leader Mike Nahan came to Mr Goiran’s defence, saying the MP was following his beliefs.

“He is doing what he is supposed to do,” Dr Nahan, a supporter of the bill, said.

“[The Upper House] is the ‘house of review’ and he is subjecting it to the mother of all reviews.”

But Deputy Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook condemned Mr Goiran’s actions.

“Any member of the community would raise their eyebrows and wonder if this is really the best use of taxpayer money,” Mr Cook said.

“I am hoping [the Upper House] will manage these issues to allow these common sense and technical changes to go forward.”

Topics: government-and-politics, state-parliament, parliament, surrogacy, reproduction-and-contraception, health, perth-6000, wa

First posted April 03, 2019 18:30:35

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