Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 8 - Conduct of proceedings

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Leave of the Senate

A motion otherwise requiring notice may be moved without notice by leave of the Senate.[50] Senators may also seek leave to take other courses of action which would not otherwise be in accordance with standing orders, for example, to make a statement or to present a document.

Leave of the Senate means unanimous consent of senators present, and is granted when no senator present objects to the course of action for which leave is sought.

A senator seeking leave must make clear to the Senate the course of action for which leave is sought. The President then asks: “Is leave granted?”. A senator may object simply by saying “no”. If there is no objection, the President states: “There being no objection, leave is granted”, and the senator granted leave then proceeds on the course of action for which leave has been granted.

Leave is restricted to the particular purpose for which it has been sought, and is subject to any limitations contained in the application for leave. Thus a senator granted leave to make a statement cannot then move a motion, and a senator granted leave to move a motion relating to one subject cannot then move a motion relating to another subject; similarly, a senator who has successfully sought leave to speak for two minutes cannot speak for longer than that time.

The granting of leave does not suspend the other requirements of the standing orders. For example, a senator who has successfully sought leave to make a statement cannot in the course of the statement make any remarks which would be out of order under the rules of debate in standing order 193.

In practice, a great deal of the Senate’s business is transacted by leave, and during any typical sitting senators frequently seek leave to move motions, make statements and take other actions which would not be permissible under the standing orders. A senator normally cannot move a motion without giving notice, and a motion of which notice has been given by a senator who is not a minister would normally not be reached in the course of a session because of the large number of notices of motion and other business on the Notice Paper. The granting of leave therefore provides an expeditious and convenient way of transacting business by unanimous consent.


50. SO 88.

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