Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 8 - Conduct of proceedings

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Interruption of business

Business the consideration of which is interrupted, for example, by the calling on of other business at a prescribed time or the putting of the question for the adjournment of the Senate at the time specified in the standing orders, is deemed to have been adjourned. If the interruption occurs in the course of the day the adjournment is till a later time of the day. If interrupted business is not reached later in the day, or the adjournment of the Senate intervenes, the business is listed on the Notice Paper as business for the next day of sitting.[49]

In practice, where debate is on a non-substantive question which does not require a definite decision of the Senate, and it would not be rational to retain the item on the Notice Paper, the Chair puts the question when the time for debate has expired. An example is a motion to take note of a question after question time.

Standing order 68(2)(c) provides that if a vote is being taken the vote shall be completed. This is taken to refer to the whole process of determining a question, so that if the process of determining the question has commenced it is concluded when the time has expired. Thus, on 28 August 1997 in debate on an opposition general business motion concerning tariffs, the motion to close debate was put just before the time for the debate expired. The division on the closure was then concluded. That motion having been carried, this started the process of determining the question. The process was then completed by putting the amendment on the question and then putting the main question.

Urgency motions under standing order 75 are subject to the special provision in paragraph (7) whereby the question on an urgency motion is put when the time expires.


49. SO 68.

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