Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 12 - Legislation

Right click over the text to activate a context menu for Odgers. (Note: on iPad Safari this function is activated by a finger press and holding down for several seconds.)


Transmittal to House of Representatives

When a bill has been read a third time, it is certified by the Clerk as having passed the Senate and is forwarded to the House of Representatives with a message signed by the President.

In the case of a bill originating in the Senate, it is printed with any amendments made by the Senate and the message requests the concurrence of the House with the bill. If a bill originating in the House of Representatives is agreed to by the Senate without amendment it is returned to the House with a message indicating the Senate's agreement to it and it is then forwarded to the Governor-General for assent. If a bill originating in the House has been amended, a schedule of amendments is attached to the bill, it is returned to the House and the message requests the concurrence of the House with the amendments.

When an amendment made by the Senate to a bill received from the House of Representatives is modified by a subsequent amendment also made by the Senate, both amendments may be included in the schedule of amendments made by the Senate to the bill. The rationale of this is that the successive decisions of the Senate are taken to mean that, while the Senate wishes the first amendment to be made to the bill, it has a preference for the second amendment. The inclusion of both amendments in the schedule of amendments gives the government the options of agreeing to either or both amendments.162 This also provides greater flexibility for subsequent dealings between the two Houses on the matter. If the government in the House of Representatives agrees to the first amendment but disagrees with the modifying amendment, in effect it adopts the second preference of the Senate, the third preference being the relevant provision in the bill unamended. In effect, the government in that situation accepts part of the Senate's position. If the bill is returned to the Senate with only the first amendment agreed to, the Senate then may determine whether it accepts this partial adoption of its position or whether it will insist on its preferred position.

Amendments which are modified by subsequent amendments and which are included in the Senate's schedule of amendments are clearly amendments which have been made by the Senate within the terms of section 57 of the Constitution. The inclusion of such an amendment in the Senate's schedule of amendments clearly determines that question.

In 1992 it was necessary to correct a Senate schedule of amendments to a bill which included amendments not agreed to by the Senate.163

In 2000 the Senate repeatedly sent messages to the House requesting the House to consider a private senator's bill, the Human Rights (Mandatory Sentencing of Juvenile Offenders) Bill, which the government refused to consider.164


Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print