Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 18 - Documents tabled in the Senate

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One of the principal means whereby the Senate informs itself in relation to public affairs is the formal presentation of documents to the Senate.

A document formally presented to the Senate is said to be “laid on the table”, and that expression is used in the standing orders. In common usage a document presented to the Senate is said to be “tabled”. Such a document is then formally before the Senate, and may be the subject of action by the Senate.

Tabling of documents

Types of tabled documents

Orders for production of documents

Resistance by government to orders

Addresses for documents

Presentation of documents when Senate not sitting

Publication of documents


Other submissions to the Senate

Government documents – consideration

Committee reports – consideration

Annual reports – scrutiny

Documents quoted in debate


Custody and alteration of documents