Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 11 - Voting and divisions

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Free votes

Parties occasionally announce that certain votes in the Senate are free votes, that is, the parties have made no decision as to how their members should vote on the particular issue. Examples include the Parliamentary Allowances Bill 1959, Matrimonial Causes Bill 1959, Marriage Bill 1961, Death Penalty Abolition Bill 1973, family law bills 1974 and 1983, site of the new Parliament House 1968, 1969, 1973 and 1974, Sex Discrimination Bill 1984, Euthanasia Laws Bill 1997, Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002 and Research Involving Embryos Bill 2002, Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial Responsibility for Approval of RU486) Bill 2005, Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction and the Regulation of Human Embryo Research Amendment Bill 2006. Prior to 1936, when many amendments were made to tariff bills, votes on tariff questions were traditionally free votes. Votes on amendments to the standing orders and other procedural matters and on questions of privilege are traditionally free votes.