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Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 9 - Motions and amendments

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Resolutions and orders

The Senate makes decisions by resolutions and orders. A resolution is a statement of the Senate’s opinion which does not direct that any action be taken in relation to the matter which is the subject of the resolution; for example, a resolution expressing concern about a situation in a foreign country. Orders are requirements that some action be taken by some person or body subject to the direction of the Senate; for example, an order directing that a standing committee inquire into and report upon a particular matter, and an order that documents be produced to the Senate by the person who has the custody of the documents.[1]

This distinction between resolutions and orders is not observed in usage. Generally speaking, only procedural orders, for example, the standing orders, and orders for the production of documents, are referred to as orders, while all other decisions, including many that are technically orders, are referred to as resolutions. Thus the group of orders concerned with matters of privilege agreed to by the Senate on 25 February 1988 are referred to as the Privilege Resolutions.


1. For duration of resolutions and orders, see below.