Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 12 - Legislation

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Section 1 of the Constitution vests the legislative power of the Commonwealth, that is, the power to make laws subject to the limitations provided by the Constitution, in the Parliament, which consists of the monarch represented by the Governor-General, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The agreement of each of the three components of the Parliament to a proposed law is required to make a law of the Commonwealth. In practice, with the ministry, the executive government, initiating most legislation in the House of Representatives, controlling that House for much of its existence through a party majority, and advising the Governor-General, the task of exercising the legislative power falls upon the Senate.

Proposed laws

Proceedings on legislation


Deadline for receipt of bills from House

First reading

Second reading

Reference to standing or select committee

Procedures for regular referral to committees

Instructions to committee of the whole

Division and consolidation of bills

Committee of the whole: amendments

Relevance of amendments

Report from committee

Recommittal on report

Third reading

Discharge of bill

Transmittal to House of Representatives

House amendments on Senate bills

Disagreement of House with Senate amendments

Bills to alter the Constitution

Amendments proposed by the Governor-General

Revival of bills

Control of bills

Limitation of debate – urgent bills

Governor-General's assent

Commencement of legislation

Passage of Legislation by Senate