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Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 8 - Conduct of proceedings

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Consideration of government documents

A special time is provided on Tuesday and Wednesday for the consideration of documents presented by ministers. Under standing order 61, 30 minutes are set aside for senators to move motions to take note of one or more of such documents, and each senator may speak for not more than five minutes to such a motion.


Documents which are presented at any time and not considered under the standing order are automatically placed on the Notice Paper for future consideration.

An hour of the time provided for general business on Thursdays is allocated for consideration of adjourned motions to take note of government documents or documents not considered in the 30 minute period. A senator who has already spoken in a debate during the 30 minute period may then speak again, and may speak for a third time if an adjourned debate is again called on. Because this third opportunity, “in the normal course of business”, does not in practice arise, senators are allowed to speak for a third time if an adjourned debate is called on again on Thursday.

Documents tabled on any day of the week are carried over for consideration each day until they appear on the list for consideration under general business on Thursday.

A relevant amendment may be moved to a motion to take note of a document, but an amendment to take note of a different document is not a relevant amendment.[30]

30. See ruling of Deputy President West, SD, 24/3/1998, pp. 1152-3.