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Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 10 - Debate

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Personal explanations and explanations of speeches

There are two procedures for senators to make explanations to the Senate without speaking in debate on a motion.

By leave of the Senate, a senator may explain matters of a personal nature, although there is no question before the Senate, but such matters may not be debated.[33] As with other procedures requiring leave of the Senate, an objection by one senator present prevents the making of a personal explanation, but leave is usually granted.

The procedure is usually employed to respond to some misrepresentation of a senator in an earlier debate in the Senate or in some other forum or publication. It is not necessary for a senator to claim to be misrepresented to use this procedure, but the explanation must relate to matters personally affecting the senator.[34]

A senator who has spoken to a question before the Senate may explain, without leave, some part of the senator's speech which has been misquoted or misunderstood, but may not interrupt a senator speaking or introduce any new or debatable matter.[35] This right to correct misquotations, misunderstandings and, in practice, misrepresentations of a senator's words may be used only where a senator has spoken in a debate, and must be used during that debate or at the conclusion of the debate.[36] It cannot be used to respond to matters in debates which have occurred at an earlier stage in the proceedings. It also cannot be used simply to respond to arguments raised in debate; to use the procedure a senator must claim to be misquoted, misunderstood or misrepresented.[37]

33. SO 190.
34. Ruling of President Givens, SD, 2/3/1917, p. 10849.
35. SO 191.
36. Statement by President Hogg, SD, 13/9/2011, pp. 5919-21, 5956-7.
37. Rulings of President Baker, SD, 2/8/1905, p. 460; 3/8/1905, p. 516.