Chapter 6 - Senators

Questions to senators

Questions may be put to senators at question time relating to matters connected with business on the Notice Paper of which they have charge (SO 72(1)). Question time, however, is mainly used to put questions to ministers (see Chapter 19, Relations with the Executive Government), and the procedure of putting questions to other senators is seldom used.

Because a question and answer may not anticipate debate on a matter on the Notice Paper (SO 73(2)), a question to a senator is in effect confined to procedural matters not going to the merits of the relevant item on the Notice Paper. Such a question may, for example, relate to a senator’s intention to bring on an item of business, or the effect of certain circumstances on the currency or urgency of the item. (Rulings of Deputy President McClelland, SD, 26/5/1982, p. 2374; President McClelland, 24/10/1984, pp 2323, 2327; President Sibraa, 20/8/1992, p. 346; President Beahan, 6/12/1994, pp 3944-8, 7/12/1994, pp 4098-9; see also SD, 11/9/1969, pp 700-1; 16/4/1970, p. 856; 27/8/1981, p. 379.)

Questions may also be put to chairs of committees, subject to certain restrictions (see Chapter 16, Committees). (See Supplement)

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