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Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 10 - Debate

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Adjournment of debate

A senator may move in the course of a debate, but not so as to interrupt a senator speaking, that the debate be adjourned. This motion may not be moved by a senator, other than a minister, who has spoken in the debate.[152] In practice a senator is allowed to make a few explanatory remarks before moving the adjournment of a debate. The motion for the adjournment of the debate must be put without debate or amendment.[153]

An alternative method of adjourning a debate is for the senator speaking to seek leave to continue the senator's remarks. If leave is granted, this is the equivalent of the passage of a motion for the adjournment of the debate.

When a debate is adjourned, by motion or by the granting of leave for a senator to continue the senator's speech, the resumption of the debate is an order of the day for the next day of sitting, unless a further motion is carried fixing another time for the resumption of debate.[154] The motion to fix another time for the resumption of the debate, unlike the motion for the adjournment of the debate, is open to debate and amendment; an amendment may be moved to fix a time other than the time proposed in the motion, and that amendment may be debated. Debate on the amendment, however, is confined to the question of the time to be fixed.[155] The motion for the adjournment of a debate and a motion to fix a time for the resumption should be moved separately.[156]

A motion to fix a time for the resumption of a debate which has been adjourned under standing order 201(3) does not extend to altering the routine of business under the standing orders, for example, by giving a general business item a precedence it would not otherwise have, or circumventing the ability of the government under standing order 65 to specify the order on the Notice Paper of its items of business on a day. It is not in order to move a motion that, for example, debate on an adjourned item be resumed at 2 pm on a day, or that debate on a general business item be resumed before government business is called on on a day.

A senator on whose motion a debate is adjourned is entitled to be first heard on the resumption of the debate, but is not obliged to exercise this entitlement, and may speak later in the debate.[157]

If a motion for adjournment of a debate is negatived, the senator moving that motion may speak later in that debate.[158]

A senator granted leave to continue the senator's remarks who does not speak when the debate is resumed has forfeited the right to speak.[159]

A debate which is interrupted by a suspension of the sitting of the Senate is resumed when the sitting resumes as if there had been no interruption.[160]


152. SO 201(1), (6).
153. SO 201(2).
154. SO 201(3).
155. Ruling of President Cunningham, SD, 25/3/1943, p. 2344.
156. Ruling of Acting Deputy President Teague, SD, 4/5/1992, pp. 2242-3. For a debate on a motion to fix the time for resumption of debate, see 10/3/2004, J.3126, 3134.
157. SO 201(4).
158. SO 201(5).
159. Ruling of President Givens, SD, 23/7/1924, p. 2327.
160. Ruling of President Baker, SD, 20-1/9/1906, pp. 5010, 5092.