Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 8 - Conduct of proceedings

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Routine of business

The routine in which the Senate deals with its business is set out in standing order 57. On each day, question time commences at 2 pm, and other items which are taken after question time then follow, such as debates on urgency motions and matters of public importance. The routine of business is as follows:

Monday:
  1. Government business only
  2. At 2 pm, questions
  3. Motions to take note of answers
  4. Petitions
  5. Notices of motion
  6. Postponement and rearrangement of business
  7. Formal motions - discovery of formal business
  8. Any proposal to debate a matter of public importance or urgency
  9. Government business
  10. At 9.50 pm, adjournment proposed
  11. At 10.30 pm, adjournment
Tuesday:
  1. Government business only
  2. At 2 pm, Questions
  3. Motions to take note of answers
  4. Petitions
  5. Notices of motion
  6. Postponement and rearrangement of business
  7. Formal motions - discovery of formal business
  8. Any proposal to debate a matter of public importance or urgency
  9. Government business
  10. At 6.50 pm, consideration of government documents for up to 30 minutes under standing order 61
  11. At 7.20 pm, adjournment proposed
  12. Adjournment.
Wednesday:
  1. Government business only
  2. At 12.45 pm, matters of public interest
  3. At 2 pm, questions
  4. Motions to take note of answers
  5. Petitions
  6. Notices of motion
  7. Postponement and rearrangement of business
  8. Formal motions - discovery of formal business
  9. Any proposal to debate a matter of public importance or urgency
  10. Consideration of committee reports under standing order 62(4)
  11. Government business
  12. At 6.50 pm, consideration of government documents for up to 30 minutes under standing order 61
  13. At 7.20 pm, adjournment proposed
  14. At 8 pm, adjournment.
Thursday:
  1. Consideration of orders of the day relating to private senators’ bills[17]
  2. Petitions
  3. Notices of motion
  4. Postponement and rearrangement of business
  5. Formal motions - discovery of formal business
  6. Consideration of committee reports under standing order 62(4)
  7. Government business
  8. At 2 pm, questions
  9. Motions to take note of answers
  10. Any proposal to debate a matter of public importance or urgency
  11. Not later than 4.30 pm, general business
  12. Not later than 6 pm, consideration of government documents under general business
  13. Not later than 7 pm, consideration of committee reports and government responses under standing order 62(1)
  14. At 8 pm, adjournment proposed
  15. At 8.40 pm, adjournment.

Notices of motion, formal motions and postponement and rearrangement of business occur before the Senate embarks on any business for the day except for the “quarantined” government business on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; these matters are explained below.


17. Pursuant to a temporary order of the Senate.

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