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Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 3 - Publication of Senate proceedings

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Journals of the Senate

The Journals of the Senate are the official record of proceedings in the Senate. The Clerk records all proceedings in the Journals, which are signed by the Clerk. The publication of the Journals for public meetings of the Senate is authorised by standing order 43(1), and therefore attracts absolute privilege.

A Journal is published for every sitting day. It records, among other things, all notices of motion, resolutions, tabling of documents, proceedings on bills including amendments moved to bills, petitions, messages received from the House of Representatives or the Governor-General, divisions and attendance of senators. The Journals are produced from the minutes kept by the Clerk and the sound and vision record of proceedings. A proof Journal of a day’s proceedings is printed for distribution on the next day. A final Journal is produced after any necessary corrections are made. A limited number of bound sets of the final Journals is produced for the official record. Proof and final Journals are also published on a database which provides a useful facility for research, and on the internet.

Material recorded in the Journals of the Senate and in the official record of debates (Hansard) may be considered in the interpretation of a provision of a statute to ascertain the meaning of the provision, under section 15AB of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.