Guidance and Instructions

For public servants | For members of the public | For senators

For public servants

How to table a document out of sitting

Under standing orders 38 and 166, committees, ministers and the Auditor—General may present reports and documents to the President, the Deputy President or a temporary chair of committees when the Senate is not sitting. Reports and documents so presented are authorised for publication. Reports and documents listed here were presented since the Senate last met.

They will be tabled formally when the Senate next meets and recorded in the Journals of the Senate.

For further information, contact:
Documents Officer
Ph: (02) 6277 3037
Senate Table Office

How to provide an answer to a Senate Question on Notice

Under standing order 74, answers to Questions on Notice should be provided within 30 calendar days.

How to find a document in the tabled papers database

This database provides a search  facility to enable acess to digital images of documents tabled in the Senate. Documents tabled in the Senate from 1901 onward are accessible through the database. Documents from the 43rd Parliament are currently being processed and will become progressively available online.

For members of the public

How to petition the Senate

Individuals and organisations may seek to have petitions presented to the Parliament. Petitions generally express views on matters of public policy and ask the Parliament to take or, in some cases, not to take a particular course of action.

How to lodge a submission to a committee

The main purpose of parliamentary committees is to carry out investigations and report the findings of those investigations to the Parliament. Each inquiry has terms of reference, which outline the matters to be considered by the committee.

As part of the inquiry process, a committee seeks written submissions addressing the terms of reference.


    For senators

    How to lodge a question on notice

    Questions addressed to a minister should relate to the public affairs with which the minister is officially connected, to proceedings pending in Parliament, or to any matter of administration for which the minister is responsible.

    Questions addressed to senators other than ministers must relate to a bill, motion, or other matter connected with the business of the Senate of which such senators have charge.

    The purpose of a question is to obtain and not to supply information. Questions, therefore, should ask directly for the information sought.

    How to lodge a petition

    How to lodge a matter of public importance

    A matter of public importance may be proposed by a senator for consideration on any sitting day and must have the support of four other senators before the matter can be considered. Notice is not required so that newly emerging matters can be considered by the Senate. There is no question before the chair during debate on matters of public importance so no vote is taken at the end of the discussion. To lodge a matter of public importance see proforma below.

    How to lodge a matter of urgency

    An urgency motion may be moved on any sitting day, and must have the support of four other senators before the matter can be debated. Notice is not required so that newly emerging matters can be considered by the Senate. The urgency motion is debated and at the conclusion of the debate a vote is taken as to whether the matter is considered urgent or not. To lodge an urgency motion see proforma below.

    How to postpone a notice of motion

    How to lodge a proposal with the Selection of Bills Committee

    How to alter a notice of motion in accordance with Standing Order 77

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