Chapter 10 - Debate

Objection to ruling of the President

All rulings of the President are subject to appeal to the whole Senate. There are two methods by which the Senate may overturn a ruling of the President.

First, by motion on notice, moved and dealt with in accordance with the normal rules relating to the conduct of business, the Senate may, by a special resolution or order, change the ruling or the procedure on which the ruling is based.

Secondly, the Senate may dissent from a President’s ruling, and a procedure is provided whereby a motion of dissent may be moved at the time when a ruling is made.

A senator who objects to a ruling of the President may immediately state that objection. The objection must be put in writing, and a motion moved that the Senate dissent from the President’s ruling. Debate on that motion is adjourned till the next sitting day unless the Senate decides, on a motion moved without notice and put without debate, that the question requires immediate determination (SO 198).

If a motion of dissent is adjourned till the next day of sitting it is the practice to place it first on the Notice Paper for that day (Notice Papers 9/7/1919, 16/7/1919, 26/9/1938, 3/11/1938, 16/5/1950, 16/9/1952, 12/5/1970, 20/5/1970, 17/8/2005, 15/9/2005). The motion may be postponed and discharged (20/5/1970, J.113; 21-22/10/1970, J.363, 370; 29/10/1970, J.400).

If a motion of dissent is adjourned the disputed ruling stands and applies to the proceedings. The matter under consideration may, however, be adjourned until the motion of dissent is determined (ruling of President Gould, 30/10/1908, J.60-1).

If it is decided that a motion of dissent requires immediate determination, it is usual for debate to occur on the motion, which is then put to a vote of the Senate. Normally a motion of dissent is determined immediately.

On a motion to dissent from a President’s ruling the greatest latitude of discussion is allowed. The President may participate in the discussion in order to clarify the ruling or respond to points which have been made (ruling of President Baker, SD, 31/10/1905, p. 4262; also statement by President Baker, 4/9/1903, p. 4630-1).

The Chair of Committees rules on questions of order in committee of the whole (SO 144(7)), but if a senator objects to a decision of the Chair of Committees, this is reported to the Senate. The President then determines the matter by making a ruling, after hearing senators in relation to the objection, and, unless objection is taken to the President’s ruling, the committee of the whole resumes (SO 145).

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