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Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 5 - Officers of the Senate: parliamentary administration

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Temporary Chairs

At the commencement of every Parliament the President nominates a panel of not less than two senators who may act as Temporary Chairs of Committees when requested so to do by the Chair of Committees, or when the Chair of Committees is absent.[37]

The warrant nominating the panel of Temporary Chairs is read to the Senate by the President and laid upon the Table. It is usual for the President to nominate up to 16 senators as Temporary Chairs. Separate appointments of additional Temporary Chairs may be made.

The nomination of Temporary Chairs is the President’s prerogative, but in practice the parties indicate their nominees for appointment.

During the absence of the Deputy President, the President may call on any one of the Temporary Chairs of Committees to relieve temporarily in the chair, without any formal communication to the Senate.[38] The Temporary Chairs are placed on a roster organised by the Deputy President, and all Temporary Chairs on the panel may expect to serve regularly in the President’s chair or in the chair of committee of the whole. The Temporary Chairs exercise the full authority of the President or Chair of Committees when presiding in the Senate or committee of the whole.

37. SO 12.
38. SO 15(2).