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Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 10 - Debate

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Objection to ruling of the President

All rulings of the President are subject to appeal to the whole Senate. There are two methods by which the Senate may overturn a ruling of the President.

First, by motion on notice, moved and dealt with in accordance with the normal rules relating to the conduct of business, the Senate may, by a special resolution or order, change the ruling or the procedure on which the ruling is based.

Secondly, the Senate may dissent from a President's ruling, and a procedure is provided whereby a motion of dissent may be moved at the time when a ruling is made.

A senator who objects to a ruling of the President may immediately state that objection. The objection must be put in writing, and a motion moved that the Senate dissent from the President's ruling. Debate on that motion is adjourned till the next sitting day unless the Senate decides, on a motion moved without notice and put without debate, that the question requires immediate determination.[133]

If a motion of dissent is adjourned till the next day of sitting it is the practice to place it first on the Notice Paper for that day.[134] The motion may be postponed and discharged.[135]

If a motion of dissent is adjourned the disputed ruling stands and applies to the proceedings. The matter under consideration may, however, be adjourned until the motion of dissent is determined.[136]

If it is decided that a motion of dissent requires immediate determination, it is usual for debate to occur on the motion, which is then put to a vote of the Senate. Normally a motion of dissent is determined immediately.[137]

On a motion to dissent from a President's ruling the greatest latitude of discussion is allowed. The President may participate in the discussion in order to clarify the ruling or respond to points which have been made.[138]

The Chair of Committees rules on questions of order in committee of the whole, but if a senator objects to a decision of the Chair of Committees, this is reported to the Senate.[139] The President then determines the matter by making a ruling, after hearing senators in relation to the objection, and, unless objection is taken to the President's ruling, the committee of the whole resumes.[140]


133. SO 198.
134. Notice Papers 9/7/1919, 16/7/1919, 26/9/1938, 3/11/1938, 16/5/1950, 16/9/1952, 12/5/1970, 20/5/1970, 17/8/2005, 15/9/2005, 7/2/2012.
135. 20/5/1970, J.113; 21-22/10/1970, J.363, 370; 29/10/1970, J.400.
136. Ruling of President Gould, 30/10/1908, J.60-1.
137. For a motion of dissent withdrawn by leave, see 13/10/2011, J.1650.
138. Ruling of President Baker, SD, 31/10/1905, p. 4262; also statement by President Baker, 4/9/1903, p. 4630-1.
139. SO 144(7).
140. SO 145.