"What is a Dorothy Dix question? And what is she doing in Parliament? "

Thank you for your question, Cliff.

Dorothy Dix was a popular advice columnist who was rumoured to sometimes write the questions she answered. You won’t find her in the Australian Parliament, but a type of question asked during Question Time is named after her.

A ‘Dorothy Dixer’ is a question asked of a government minister by a government backbencher. Unlike questions asked by the opposition–which are intended to scrutinise the work of the government–Dorothy Dixers are designed to highlight government policies and achievements.

Ministers will know in advance that a Dorothy Dixer is going to be asked. This gives them time to prepare a response. Like the real Dorothy Dix, they may have even written the question themselves.

We have more information about Question Time on our website, including our Question Time video.

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