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Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 10 - Debate

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Questions of order

In accordance with the President's responsibility to maintain order in the Senate, the President rules on questions of order and applies and interprets the standing orders and rules and practices of the Senate.[127] This responsibility is not confined to occasions when questions of order are raised by senators in accordance with standing order 197; the chair may draw attention to a question of order and rule on it without awaiting a point of order by a senator.

The President may hear argument on a question of order and may determine it at once or at a later time.[128]

A ruling by the President on a question of order must be complied with. It is the equivalent of an order of the Senate unless and until it is dissented from or altered by the Senate.[129]

A point of order raised by a senator must not be used to make a debating point but should relate to some question of order.[130] The chair does not deal with hypothetical points of order or points which have already been determined.[131]

In committee of the whole the Chair of Committees has the same authority to make rulings as the President in the Senate.[132]


127. SO 184(1).
128. SO 197(5).
129. Rulings of President Baker, SD, 4/10/1906, p. 6089; of President Gould, 18/10/1907, p. 4909.
130. Rulings of President Givens, SD, 8/7/1915, p. 4700, 19/8/1915, p. 5871, 25/9/1917, p. 2632, 19/6/1924, p. 1399; of President Sibraa, 2/12/1991, p. 3742.
131. Rulings of President Baker, SD, 1/10/1906, p. 5765, 28/9/1906, p. 5646.
132. SO 144(7).