Appendix 1

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Appendix 1—Chronology of Procedural Developments in the Senate

Date
Event

9/5/1901

Senate met for the first time and elected a President after debate on the method of election

10/5/1901

First draft tabled of Blackmore’s “Standing Orders relative to Public Business as drafted for Provisional Use by the Clerk of the Parliaments, and settled after revision by the Prime Minister”

21/5/1901

First petition presented to the Senate, from the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of New South Wales, in favour of opening the proceedings of the Senate with daily prayer

23/5/1901

Second draft of Blackmore’s Standing Orders tabled after revisions by Senator O’Connor

5/6/1901

Motion moved by the Government to adopt the second draft of Blackmore’s Standing Orders amended to provide for the establishment of a Standing Orders Committee – the Senate’s first committee – to recommend which state legislature’s standing orders should be adopted on a temporary basis pending the development of permanent standing orders

Sessional orders adopted for the days of meeting and routine of business

6/6/1901

Library, House, Printing, and Elections and Qualifications committees established for the first time

13/6/1901

Senator Dobson appointed temporary Chairman of Committees for the Post and Telegraph Bill

14/6/1901

First Supply Bill laid aside by the House of Representatives after Senate requested that the bill be amended to provide details of expenditure under the general amounts

20/6/1901

Senator Dobson’s appointment as Chairman of Committees remade to apply to all committees of the whole

25/6/1901

Supply Bill (No. 2) assented to after the House of Representatives agreed to the Senate’s request to amend the preamble to the bill to clarify that the grant of supply was made by both Houses

26/6/1901

Resolution of the Senate proposing that a sitting day begin with prayer (see SO 50)

Adoption of recommendation by the Standing Orders Committee for the appointment of a Chairman of Committees for the session

28/6/1901

Senator Best appointed Chairman of Committees “during the present session, and until the end of the second week of the next session” following Senator Dobson’s resignation

26/7/1901

First select committee appointed, into steamship communication with Tasmania

8 & 15/8/1901

Mr David Mills, Melbourne manager for the Union Steamship company of New Zealand Ltd, Mr W.T. Appleton, Managing Director of Huddart, Parker & Co. Pty Ltd and Clerk of the Parliaments, E.G. Blackmore, are the first witnesses to be called before Senate committees to give evidence (Select Committee appointed to inquire into steamship communication between Australia and Tasmania, and Committee of Elections and Qualifications)

9/10/1901

Standing Orders Committee reported to the Senate with a draft of the proposed standing orders

16/9/1902

Customs Tariff Bill 1901–02 assented to following complex and protracted negotiations between the Houses over requests

10/6/1903

Debate commenced on proposed standing orders

30/7/1903

Sugar Bounty Bill 1903 assented to following complex negotiations between the Houses on amendments and requests

19/8/1903

Debate concluded on proposed standing orders

1/9/1903

The Senate’s first permanent standing orders came into effect

7/10/1903

Resolution of the Senate exempting the adjournment debate from the normal rule of relevance (see SO 53)

9/3/1904

Remarks and suggestions on the Standing Orders by President Baker tabled, articulating the mechanism to establish the Senate’s procedural independence

20/4/1904

First (and only) select committee appointed to inquire into a privilege case (Senator Neild)

20/10/1904

Parliamentary Evidence Bill 1904 referred to the Standing Orders Committee by motion after second reading, the first referral of a bill to a standing committee

17/8/1905

First Report of the President to the Standing Orders Committee tabled containing rulings and the reasons for any incorrect or inconvenient decisions

12/12/1906

Referendum to amend s.13 of the Constitution to change the commencement date for senators’ terms from 1 January to 1 July carried, necessitating consequential changes to standing orders (made in 1909)

23/8/1907

First (and only) petition (that of Joseph Vardon against the choice of Senator O’Loghlin) referred to Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications (see SO 207)

25/11/1908

In a twice tied ballot for election of Deputy President, President Gould ruled that the outcome should be determined by lot in accordance with the procedures for the election of President (Senator Dobson elected)

9–10/10/1909

Standing Orders Committee report recommending multiple amendments and alterations, including as a consequence of the referendum in December 1906, debated and adopted. Changes included requirement to record attendance of senators (SO 46) and new standing orders on requests; a reprint ordered (the second edition)

23/11/1910

Resolution of the Standing Orders Committee requiring indexed rulings of Presidents to be published following completion of their term in office

24/11/1910

Adoption of a standing order providing for any motion disapproving of a regulation to be regarded as business of the Senate and to take precedence of government business or private business (an early version of SO 58)

17/6/1914

Address to the Governor–General requesting publication of the communications between the government and the Governor–General concerning the proposed simultaneous dissolution of both Houses under s.57 of the Constitution

1/3/1917

A motion to extend the life of the Parliament beyond its constitutional limits by petitioning the British Parliament to use its imperial legislative power to amend the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act lapses in the Senate when it is called on and not moved (see SO 83). Shortly afterwards the Hughes Government is forced to an election.

15/8/1919

Time limits on individual speeches adopted (see SO 189)

31/8/1921

Final Report of the Select Committee on the Question of the Position of the Officials engaged in and about the Senate tabled (recommending transfer of classification matters to the Public Service Commissioner)

10/12/1921

Informal conference held between the Houses on the Appropriation Bill 1921–22 and the question of whether the salaries of the Clerks of the two Houses should be uniform (see SO 156)

5/10/1922

Adoption of Standing Orders Committee’s First Report of 1922, including a new standing order defining business of the Senate (SO 58); a reprint ordered (the third edition)

3/3/1926

Mechanism to impose time limits on the consideration of bills (“guillotine”) adopted following increasing use of the closure from 1920 (SO 142)

9/5/1927

Senate met in Canberra for the first time

5/12/1929

Establishment of select committee to inquire into the advisability or otherwise of having standing committees in a number of areas in order to improve the legislative work of the senate and increase the participation of senators in that work

9/4/1930

First report of the select committee on standing committees tabled

1 & 8/5/1930

First report of the select committee on standing committees considered and referred back for further consideration

10/7/1930

Second report of the select committee on standing committees tabled

First referral of a bill to a select committee (Central Reserve Bank Bill 1930)

7–8/8/1930

First formal conference between the Houses on the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1930 (see SO 156)

6/5/1931

Chairman of the Commonwealth Bank Board called to the bar of the Senate to give evidence on the Commonwealth Bank Bill (see SO 182)

14/5/1931

Select committee’s second report on standing committees considered and recommendations (for a new committee to scrutinise regulations and ordinances and for revised procedures for the referral of bills to committees) adopted

28/5/1931

Address urging the Governor–General to refuse to approve regulations the same in substance as regulations already disallowed by the Senate (see below)

18/6/1931

In disallowing certain waterside transport workers regulations for the seventh time since May 1930, the Senate protests against the actions of the government in remaking the regulations as soon as they had been disallowed. The regulations were disallowed five more times before the government fell

11/3/1932

Establishment of Regulations and Ordinances Committee (SO 23) and adoption of amended procedures to facilitate referral of bills to committees

18/5/1932

First report of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee tabled

30/5/1932

Acts Interpretation Act 1932 assented to, preventing the remaking of the same regulations within 6 months of disallowance by either House unless that House rescinds the disallowance

31/8/1932

Election of President Lynch raises questions about the powers of the Clerk when chairing the Senate while it elects a new President (see SO 6)

28/9/1932

Consideration of the First Report of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee raises issues about opportunities to debate committee reports

1/8/1934

Adoption of a new standing order to facilitate consideration of committee reports (SO 60); powers of the Clerk when presiding over an election for President clarified (effective 1/10/1934)

29/11/1935

First use of the new standing order giving precedence to consideration of committee reports on general business days (in respect of the Third Report of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee)

1/9/1937

Adoption of Standing Orders Committee report recommending a variety of changes and a reprint (the fourth edition), the last till 1965

1/7/1941

First tied vote for the election of President; result determined by lot in accordance with SO 7(4) (Senator Cunningham elected)

10/3/1943

Statement by President Cunningham conveying the view of the Standing Orders Committee that speeches may be read by leave (see SO 187) (the only sign of activity of the committee between 1938 and 1953)

16/3/1943

Resolution affirming the constitutional rights of the Senate in relation to the pressing of requests

21/8/1943

Dorothy Tangney became the first woman elected to the Senate

1946

Radio broadcasting of proceedings commenced

10/12/1949

First Senate election using proportional representation

22/2/1950

Representation of states increased from 6 to 10 as terms of additional 24 senators elected at 1949 election commenced

20/10/1953

New standing order adopted providing for the opening of Parliament by the Queen pending the first visit by a reigning monarch (SO 4)

11/11/1954

Appointment of Select Committee on the Development of Canberra heralds a resurgence of select committee activity from the later 1950s and throughout the 1960s

30/4/1959

Adjournment speech by Senator Willesee, calling for consideration of amendments to several standing orders, starts a process of review that would stretch to the end of 1965

27/9/1961

New procedures adopted for the consideration of estimates of expenditure in committee of the whole before the receipt of the Appropriation Bills from the House

15/3/1962

Senator Dorothy Tangney appointed as first woman temporary chair of committees and thus the first woman to chair the Senate

19/6/1964

Report from the Committee Appointed by Government Senators on Appropriation Bills and the Ordinary Annual Services of the Government finalised, leading to the “Compact of 1965” enunciated by Treasurer Holt in the House of Representatives on 13/5/1965

2/12/1965

First changes to standing orders since 1953, including change to terms of reference of the Regulations and Ordinances Committee and establishment of Committee of Privileges (SO 18)

19/5/1967

First adoption of a procedure for the recall of the Senate at the request of a majority of senators (SO 55)

20/6/1967

First use of procedure for a recall of the Senate by a majority of senators to deal with motions for the disallowance of certain regulations made under the Post and Telegraph Act

5/10/1967

Senate agrees to an order for production of documents for details of flights taken by ministers and others on VIP aircraft, a revival of a procedure common in the first decade of the Senate’s existence (see SO 164)

11/6/1970

Establishment of seven legislative and general purpose standing committees and five estimates committees (SOs 25 and 26)

12/6/1970

Printing Committee reconstituted as the Publications Committee with full inquiry powers when sitting as a joint committee with its House of Representatives counterpart (see SO 22)

19/8/1970

Further resolution relating to the establishment of legislative and general purpose standing committees, including membership formula and other details

17/9/1970

Estimates committees received their first reference of particulars of proposed expenditure

9/12/1971

Declaration by the Senate that statutory authorities are accountable for all expenditures of public funds

14/3/1973

Senate agreed to a resolution declaring its opinion that governments should respond to committee reports within three months after their presentation

7/11/1973

First version of the resolution referring annual reports to legislative and general purpose standing committees adopted (see SO 25)

6–7/8/1974

First joint sitting of the Houses pursuant to s.57 of the Constitution at which six double dissolution “trigger” bills were passed

16/7/1975

Resolution of the Senate affirming the Senate’s powers to require persons to appear before it and to produce documents, and its right to determine claims of privilege

Senior public servants appear at the bar of the Senate in relation to the overseas loans negotiations but indicate that they intend to comply with ministerial directions and claim Crown privilege (see SO 182)

22/7/1975

A further witness is called to the bar of the Senate in relation to the overseas loans negotiations, gives evidence and produces documents

19/8/1975

Procedure adopted for questions to be asked of chairs of committees (see SO 72)

13/12/1975

First election of senators representing the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory

17/2/1977

Resolution of the Senate affirming the interpretation of ordinary annual services for the purpose of s.53 of the Constitution

21/5/1977

Referendum carried to replace s.15 of the Constitution and provide for casual vacancies to be filled by a person of the same political party for the balance of the term

23/8/1979

Adoption of a procedure for the withdrawal of notices of motion for the disallowance of delegated legislation to safeguard the rights of senators (SO 78)

18/8/1981

Report of the Select Committee on Parliament’s Appropriations and Staffing tabled

22/10/1981

Title of the office “Chairman of Committees” changed to “Deputy–President and Chairman of Committees”

19/11/1981

Establishment of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee (as part of the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee) (see SO 24)

26/11/1981

Requirement for motions and amendments to be seconded abolished (see SO 84)

25/3/1982

Establishment of the Appropriations and Staffing Committee (SO 19); a separate appropriation bill for the Parliament introduced for and from 1982–83

25/5/1982

Establishment of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee as a separately constituted committee

22/10/1984

Declaration by the Senate that the powers, privileges and immunities under s.49 of the Constitution apply to a meeting of the Senate or its committees after a dissolution of the House of Representatives

Resolution authorising the publication of the report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union if received by the President when the Senate is not sitting, a forerunner to the general procedure for out of sitting tabling of documents and committee reports (see SOs 38 and 166)

1/12/1984

Representation of states increased from 10 to 12 as terms of additional 12 senators elected at 1984 election commenced

14/4/1986

First use of the “Macklin motion”, a deadline for receipt of bills from the House of Representatives (see SO 111)

10/12/1986

Proceedings on the Australia Card Bill 1986 resulting in a “mutilated” second reading motion instigate a major revision of standing orders to modernise and rationalise them. The bill suffers its first defeat for the purposes of s.57 of the Constitution and provides the trigger for a double dissolution election the following year

13/5/1987

Adoption of a sessional order for expedited proceedings on bills (see SO 113)

Adoption of a sessional order greatly simplifying the putting of the question on amendments to motions and abolishing the “ancient usage” which frequently led to “mutilated motions” (see SO 91)

20/5/1987

Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987 assented to

15/9/1987

First use of a resolution to set a forward calendar of sitting dates

22/9/1987

“Standing Orders Committee” renamed “Procedure Committee” (SO 17)

Eight legislative and general purpose standing committees appointed, renamed and empowered to meet as joint committees with similar House of Representatives committees

28/2/1988

Privilege Resolutions agreed to

9/5/1988

Opening of the new and permanent Parliament House

17/5/1988

First draft of the revised standing orders tabled

27 & 29/9/1988

Orders agreed to for production of a list of unproclaimed legislation together with reasons for non–proclamation (see SO 139)

28/9/1988

First adoption of the 30 day rule providing a mechanism to follow up unanswered questions on notice (see SO 74)

4/10/1989

Resolution of the Senate affirms the responsibility of all senators to maintain a quorum (see SO 52)

1/11/1989

Further revised draft of standing orders tabled

21/11/1989

Revised standing orders adopted with effect from the first sitting day in 1990

5/12/1989

Sessional orders agreed to for the systematic referral of bills to committees

August 1990

Televising of Senate proceedings began (authorised 31/5/1990)

Referral of bills to committees under the new procedures begins (see SO 24A)

23/8/1990

Order of continuing effect agreed to regularising the practice of placing written questions on notice at estimates hearings (see SO 26)

23/2/1991

Guidelines for disclosure of in camera evidence in dissenting reports adopted (see SO 37)

27/9/1991

Senate (Quorum) Act 1991 assented to reducing the quorum of the Senate from one third to one quarter

14/9/1992

Time limits on questions without notice and answers first adopted (see SO 72)

16/9/1992

Procedure for motions to take note of answers to questions first adopted (see SO 72)

6/5/1993

Procedures for supplementary hearings of estimates committees and limitations on consideration of appropriation bills in committee of the whole adopted as orders of continuing effect (see SOs 26 and 115)

Powers of parliamentary secretaries codified

2/2/1994

Significant changes to the times of meeting and routine of business adopted as a sessional order (see SOs 55 and 57)

17/3/1994

Resolutions for the registration of senators’ interests agreed to; Senators’ Interests Committee established (SO 22A)

24/8/1994

Proposals by the Procedure Committee adopted for the restructure of the committee system with effect from 10/10/1994. Pairs of legislation and references committees established in each subject area. Estimates committee functions taken over by the legislation committees (see SO 25)

9/5/1995

Senator Margaret Reid elected as the first woman and territory senator to be Deputy President

30/5/1996

Motion agreed to for periodic production of indexed lists of files created by departments and agencies to enhance transparency of expenditure

20/8/1996

Senator Margaret Reid elected as the first woman and territory senator to be President

13/2/1997

Several sessional orders and orders of continuing effect incorporated into standing orders, including provision for supplementary estimates hearings, electronic committee meetings, times of meeting and routine of business

6/3/1997

Changes to the procedure for presenting petitions agreed to (see SO 69)

31/8/1999

Resolution authorising publication of Senate proceedings live on the internet

22/11/1999

Resolution of the Senate declaring that all questions going to the operations or finances of departments and agencies are relevant to estimates

Amendment to SO 142 to enable the question to be put on non–government amendments as well as government amendments when time expires on an urgent bill

26/6/2000

Resolution requiring all amendments circulated as requests to be accompanied by a statement of reasons for their being framed as requests, and a statement by the Clerk of the Senate on whether they would be regarded as requests under the precedents of the Senate

6/2/2001

Supplementary hearings on additional estimates dropped

20/6/2001

Motion agreed to for publication on the internet of details of contracts entered into by departments and agencies

28/8/2002

Open–ended adjournment debate moved to Tuesdays (see SOs 54 and 55)

19/11/2002

Participating members of legislative and general purpose standing committees able to be counted towards a quorum (see SO 25)

Quorum procedures for committees brought into line with quorum procedures in the Senate (see SO 29)

13/5/2003

Standing orders amended to permit a breastfeeding infant in the chamber (SO 175)

14/5/2003

Starting time on Tuesdays brought forward to 12.30pm (see SO 55)

29/10/2003

Motion agreed to for periodic production of information about advertising or public information campaigns commissioned by departments and agencies

30/10/2003

Resolution of the Senate declaring the basis on which claims of commercial confidentiality would be considered

3/12/2003

Adoption of a procedure allowing the committee of the whole stage on bills to be by–passed if not required (see SO 115)

9/11/2005

Orders agreed to allowing senators to take action in respect of unanswered estimates questions on notice or orders for documents (see SOs 72 and 164)

7/12/2005

Appointment of Joint Standing Committee on the Parliamentary Library following the creation of a statutory position of Parliamentary Librarian (see SO 20)

14/8/2006

Committee system restructured with effect from 11/9/2006. Legislation and references committees combined under government chairs (see SO 25)

24/6/2008

Motion agreed to for production in time for estimates hearings of information about appointments and grants made by departments and agencies

13/11/2008

Changes to Question Time adopted on a trial basis

4/12/2008

First adoption of statement of reasons by motion, on disagreement to House of Representatives amendment on a Senate bill

10/3/2009

Provision for questions to chairs of committees and private senators abolished; procedure adopted on a permanent basis for appointing substitute members of committees when the Senate is not sitting (see SOs 72 and 25)

13/5/2009

Committee system restructured with effect from 14/5/2009 to return to the system of paired legislation and references committees (see SO 25)

26/10/2010 The Senate agreed to include an acknowledgement of country after the prayer each day (see SO 50)
2012  Parliamentary Paper Series becomes an online resource (see SO 22)
27/11/2012  Appropriations and Staffing Committee authorised to meet with a similar committee of the House of Representatives for oversight of information and communications technology services to the Parliament (see SO 19)
2013  Answers to questions on notice published only online (see SO 74) 
12/3/2013  Adoption of a temporary order to provide a definite time for the consideration of non-controversial billson Thursdays from 12.45pm (see SO 57) 

 

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