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Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 10 - Debate

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Interruption of speaker

A senator who is speaking in debate may not be interrupted by another senator except to call attention to:

  • a point of order
  • a question of privilege suddenly arising in relation to the proceedings before the Senate
  • the lack of a quorum.[106]

When a question of order or a matter of privilege is raised in this way, the business before the Senate is suspended until the chair determines the question.[107] This procedure is seldom invoked in relation to a matter of privilege, and is usually used to raise a point of order arising out of the remarks of the senator speaking. When a point of order is raised the senator speaking sits down. The President may hear argument from senators on the point of order, and may determine it forthwith or at a later time.[108]


Time taken in raising and determining a point of order does not come out of the time for a senator to speak or the time for a debate.[109]

For the calling of quorums, see Chapter 8, Conduct of Proceedings, under Quorum.

The procedures of the Senate do not allow a motion that a senator be no longer heard.[110] Such motions are used in the House of Representatives to "gag" individual speakers even though they have the call from the chair to speak.

106. SO 81, 197(1), (2).
107. SO 197(3); 22/11/2011, J.1894.
108. SO 197(4), (5); see below, under Questions of order.
109. SO 197(6).
110. Ruling of President McMullin, SD, 12/11/1959, p. 1475.