Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 12 - Legislation

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Recommittal on report

The Senate may recommit a bill to a committee of the whole, that is, refer it back to the committee for further consideration.

When the motion for the adoption of the report of the committee of the whole is moved, a superseding motion may be moved that the whole or part of the bill be recommitted.146 The motion for the recommittal of a bill may set out the particular clauses or matters in relation to the bill which the committee is to consider.147 The recommittal motion may be debated and relevantly amended. A bill may be recommitted more than once.148 A motion to recommit a bill may be moved instead of a motion to adopt the report of the committee.149

A senator who has unsuccessfully moved a motion for the recommittal of a bill and a senator who has spoken to it may speak again to the motion for the adoption of the report of the committee.150

The Senate, under this procedure, could recommit to the committee of the whole a bill which has been negatived in committee. On the principle that the committee of the whole is a subordinate body, the Senate may instruct the committee to reconsider a bill which the committee has, in effect, rejected. It may be argued, contrary to this conclusion, that if a committee of the whole, which after all has the same membership as the whole Senate, has taken the significant step of rejecting a bill, the bill should not be revived except by motion on notice, as with a bill rejected at the second reading. On the third of the occasions referred to above when a bill was negatived in committee, it was referred back to the committee only by a special motion moved pursuant to a suspension of standing orders. This was done, however, partly because the report of the committee of the whole had already been adopted. As was indicated above this question should not arise because it is not logical for a bill to be rejected in committee of the whole.

A bill may also be recommitted on the motion for the third reading (see below).

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