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Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 6 - Senators

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The constitutional choices made by the framers of the Australian Constitution delineated the political character of members of the Senate. The provision for direct election of senators made them the representatives of the people rather than the appointees of any other body. The provisions for a six-year fixed term for senators and for elections by rotation provided the opportunity for senators to have a greater degree of independence from the executive government. The provisions for each state to elect senators by voting as one electorate and for the equal representation of the states gave senators a wider representative capacity than members for local constituencies. Developments since 1901 have also significantly affected the character of senators as representatives. The introduction of proportional representation for Senate elections in 1949 made senators as a group more representative of the range of opinions in the community. The establishment in 1970 of a comprehensive committee system in the Senate provided senators with greater opportunity for productive interaction with the people through committee inquiries and hearings.

Qualifications of senators

Determination of disqualifications

Designation of senators


Oath or affirmation of office

Immunities of senators

Leave of absence

Parties and party leaders

Other office-holders

Seniority of senators

Conduct of senators

Questions to senators

Pecuniary interests

Places in chamber


Senators’ remuneration and entitlements

Resignation of senators

Distinguished visitors