Chapter 20 - Bills

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133  House of Representatives amendments to Senate amendments

  1. When a bill is returned to the House of Representatives with amendments made by the House of Representatives on the Senate’s amendments disagreed to, the message returning the bill shall also contain reasons for the Senate not agreeing to the amendments proposed by the House of Representatives.

  2. The reasons shall be drawn up by a committee appointed for that purpose when the Senate adopts the report of the committee of the whole disagreeing to the amendments, or may be adopted by motion at that time.

  3. When further amendments are made by the Senate on the House of Representatives amendments on the Senate’s original amendments to a bill which has been first passed by the House of Representatives, a schedule of the further amendments shall be prepared, shall be certified by the Clerk and shall accompany the bill.

  4. The Clerk shall, at every stage, certify on the first page of the bill the action taken by the Senate.

Amendment history

Adopted: 19 August 1903 as SOs 229 (corresponding to paragraphs (1) and (2)), 231 and 232 (corresponding to paragraphs (3) and (4)) but renumbered as SOs 228, 230 and 231 for the first printed edition

1989 revision: Old SOs 238 to 240 combined into one, restructured as four paragraphs and renumbered as SO 133; language modernised and expression streamlined; provision added for reasons to be adopted by motion

Commentary

Like the equivalent parts of SOs 126 and 127 in relation to Senate-initiated bills, this standing order prescribes a number of practical matters including:

  • the requirement for a statement of reasons to be drawn up when the Senate disagrees with House of Representatives amendments to Senate amendments on House-initiated bills;

  • alternative mechanisms for formulating those reasons;

  • the requirement for a schedule to be drawn up and certified of further amendments by the Senate to House amendments to Senate amendments on House-initiated bills; and

  • the requirement for the Clerk to certify on the front page of the bill at each stage the action taken by the Senate.

Of the two methods provided for the formulation of reasons for disagreement with House amendments either in these circumstances or in those contemplated by SO 126, the appointment of a committee of senators was the only method available in earlier times. See Australian Senate Practice, 6th edition, for precedents up to 1985 (pp. 488–90, 498–99). The 1989 revision added the second method of adopting reasons by motion moved after the Senate adopts the report of the committee of the whole disagreeing to the amendments.[1] As noted in the commentary on SO 126(6) – (7), this practice, though not yet used in this particular context, is considered more in keeping with contemporary expectations of efficiency and the greater level of clerical support now available. It is used for outright disagreement with the House’s amendments, not where the Senate makes a substitute amendment for the one disagreed to. This is consistent with the practice adopted by the House of Representatives in providing reasons for disagreeing to Senate amendments.

The message sent to the House of Representatives in these circumstances would include the following information:

The Senate returns to the House of Representatives the bill for <long title of the bill> and informs the House that the Senate has disagreed to the amendment made by the House to amendment no. <number>, for the reasons shown in the annexed schedule.

The Senate requests the reconsideration of the bill by the House in respect of the amendment.

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