Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 8 - Conduct of proceedings

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Special precedence for certain business

Certain business is given special precedence over all other business.

A notice of motion for the reference of a matter of privilege to the Privileges Committee is listed on the Notice Paper as a matter of privilege and takes precedence over all other business on the day for which the notice is given, provided that the matter has been raised in writing with the President and the President has given it precedence in accordance with standing order 81.[18]

Certain business is categorised as business of the Senate, a category separate from government business, that is, business introduced by ministers, and general business, that is, business which is introduced by senators who are not ministers. Business of the Senate takes precedence over government and general business on the day for which it is listed.[19] The following matters are classified as business of the Senate:

  1. a motion for leave of absence for a senator;
  2. a motion concerning the qualification of a senator;
  3. a motion to disallow, disapprove, or declare void and of no effect any instrument made under the authority of any Act of Parliament which provides for the instrument to be subject to disallowance or disapproval by either House of the Parliament, or subject to a resolution of either House of the Parliament declaring the instrument to be void and of no effect;[20]
  4. an order of the day for the presentation of a report from a committee;
  5. a motion to refer a matter to a standing committee.

By special order of the Senate, other items of business may be classified as business of the Senate, and placed on the Notice Paper and given precedence accordingly. In recent years it has been the practice to make the consideration of reports from the Procedure Committee business of the Senate, particularly when there are multiple items for consideration.

A business of the Senate item which is adjourned continues to take precedence over government and general business on the day to which it is adjourned.

18. See Chapter 2, Parliamentary Privilege, under Raising of privilege matters.
19. SO 58.
20. See Chapter 15, Delegated Legislation.