Chapter 20 - Bills

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Standing Orders

111 Initiation

(1) A bill, unless received from the House of Representatives, shall be initiated by a motion for leave to bring in the bill, specifying its intended title, or by a motion for a committee of not less than 2 senators to prepare and bring it in, or by an order of the Senate.

(2) The senator having leave, or one of the committee appointed to bring in a bill, shall present a signed copy to the Senate.

(3) The title shall agree with the order of leave, and no clause shall be inserted in a bill which is irrelevant to its title.

(4) A bill not in accordance with the order of leave, or with the rules and orders of the Senate, shall be ordered to be withdrawn.

(5) Where a bill:

(a) is first introduced in the Senate by a minister in a period of sittings; or

(b) is received from the House of Representatives and was introduced in that House in the same period of sittings; or

(c) is received from the House of Representatives after the expiration of two-thirds of the total number of days of sitting of the Senate scheduled for that period of sittings,

and a motion is moved for the second reading of the bill, debate on that motion shall be adjourned at the conclusion of the speech of the senator moving the motion and resumption of the debate shall be made an order of the day for the first day of sitting in the next period of sittings without any question being put.

(6) Paragraph (5) does not apply to a bill introduced in the Senate or received from the House of Representatives within the first two-thirds of the total number of days of sitting of the Senate scheduled for the first period of sittings after a general election of the House of Representatives, but consideration of such a bill shall not be resumed after the second reading is moved in the Senate unless 14 days have elapsed after the first introduction of the bill in either House.

(7) Paragraph (5) does not apply to a bill received by the Senate again in the circumstances described in the first paragraph of section 57 of the Constitution.

(8) In paragraphs (5) and (6) “period of sittings” means a period during which the Senate adjourns for not more than 20 days.

(amended 13 February 1997, 14 May 2003)

112 First reading

(1) Except in respect of bills which the Senate may not amend, the question––That this bill be now read a first time – shall be put by the President immediately after the bill has been received, and shall be determined without amendment or debate.

(2) In respect of bills which the Senate may not amend, the question for the first reading may be debated, and in the debate matters relevant and not relevant to the subject matter of the bill may be discussed. A senator shall not speak for more than 15 minutes in that debate.

(3) On every order for the reading of a bill the title only shall be read.

(4) After the first reading, a future day shall be appointed for the second reading of the bill, and the bill shall be printed.

(amended 13 February 1997)

113 Expedited proceedings on bills

(1) A senator may present a bill or 2 or more bills after the Senate has agreed to a motion upon notice, setting out the title of the bill or bills, that the bill or bills be introduced.

(2) After the presentation of a bill or bills, or after the receipt of a message or messages from the House of Representatives forwarding a bill or bills for concurrence, a motion may be moved without notice containing any of the following provisions:

(a) that the bill or bills may proceed without formalities (this shall have the effect of suspending any requirements for stages of the passage of the bill or bills to take place on different days, for notice of motions for such stages, and for the printing and certification of the bill or bills during passage);

(b) in respect of 2 or more bills, that the bills may be taken together (this shall have the effect of allowing the questions for the several stages of the passage of the bills (or any of them) to be put in one motion at each stage, the consideration of the bills (or any of them) together in committee of the whole, and the reading of the short titles only on every order for the reading of the bills, the words in parentheses being applicable where there are more than 2 bills);

(c) that the bill, or, where the provision referred to in subparagraph (2)(b) is agreed to, the bills, be now read a first time.

(3) Where a motion is moved containing 2 or more of the provisions set out in paragraph (2), at the request of any senator the motion shall be divided and the provisions put as separate motions.

114 Second reading

(1) On the order of the day being read for the second reading of a bill, the question shall be proposed––That this bill be now read a second time.

(2) An amendment may be moved to that question by leaving out “now” and inserting “this day 6 months”, which, if carried, shall finally dispose of the bill.

(3) Other amendments may be moved to the question for the second reading provided that they are relevant to the bill.

115 Committal

(1) After the second reading, a bill shall be considered in a committee of the whole immediately, unless:

(a) the bill is referred to a standing or select committee; or

(b) no senator has:

(i) circulated in the Senate a proposed amendment or request for amendment of the bill, or

(ii) required in debate or by notification to the chair that the bill be considered in committee of the whole.

(2) After a bill has been read a second time a motion may be moved:

(a) without notice for referring the bill to a committee;

(b) on notice for an instruction to the committee of the whole.

(3) The further consideration of a bill referred to a standing or select committee shall be an order of the day for:

(a) where a day is fixed for the report of the committee, that day; or

(b) where no day is fixed for the report of the committee, the sitting day next occurring after the day on which the committee reports on the bill.

(4) (a) Where proposed expenditure has been considered and reported on by a legislative and general purpose standing committee, an appropriation bill authorising that proposed expenditure shall not be considered in committee of the whole, unless, prior to the further consideration of the bill subsequent to the second reading, a senator has circulated in the Senate a proposed amendment or request for amendment of the bill.

(b) Where an appropriation bill is considered in committee of the whole in accordance with this paragraph:

(i) the only questions put by the chair shall be:

(a) that any amendment or request for amendment moved to the bill be agreed to, and

(b) that the bill be reported with any amendment or request for amendment agreed to by the committee; and

(ii) debate shall be confined to the purpose of any amendment or request for amendment moved to the bill.

(c) At any stage of the consideration of an appropriation bill, other than in committee of the whole, an amendment, other than an amendment or a request for an amendment to the bill, arising from a recommendation of a legislative and general purpose standing committee, may be moved to the question before the chair.

(5) When the order of the day relating to a bill which is the subject of a committee report pursuant to standing order 24A is called on, the following procedures shall apply:

(a) A motion may be moved without notice that the report of the committee be adopted (if the committee has recommended amendments to the bill, this motion shall have the effect of amending the bill accordingly, but may not be moved if other proposed amendments to the bill have been circulated in the Senate by a senator).

(b) If a motion under subparagraph (a) is moved, following the disposal of that motion a motion may be moved by a minister, or, in respect of a bill introduced into either House of the Parliament other than by a minister, by the senator in charge of the bill, that consideration of the bill be an order of the day for a future day, or that the bill not be further proceeded with.

(c) If no motion under subparagraph (a) or (b) is agreed to, a motion may be moved without notice that the bill again be referred to the committee for reconsideration, provided that such motion:

(i) indicates the matters which the committee is to reconsider, and

(ii) fixes the day for the further report of the committee,

and if such motion is agreed to the bill shall stand referred to the committee, and the further consideration of the bill shall be an order of the day for the day fixed for the further report of the committee.

(d) If no motion under subparagraph (b) or (c) is agreed to, consideration of the bill shall be resumed at the stage at which it was referred to the committee, provided that, if the consideration of the bill in committee of the whole has been concluded and the committee has recommended amendments to the bill or requests for amendments, the bill shall again be considered in committee of the whole.

(6) On a motion on notice and a motion under this standing order to refer a bill to a committee, and on an amendment for that purpose to a question in respect of any stage in the passage of a bill after its second reading, a senator shall not speak for more than 5 minutes, and at the expiration of 30 minutes, if the debate be not sooner concluded, the President shall put the question on the motion and any amendments before the chair, but if a senator wishes to move a further amendment at that time, that amendment may be moved and shall be determined without debate.

(amended 14 October 1991, 13 February 1997, 3 December 2003, 14 August 2006: with effect from 11 September 2006)

116 Consideration in committee

In committee of the whole the preamble shall stand postponed without question put, and the clauses shall be read in their order separately by the chair, and on each clause the question shall be put by the chair, that the clause stand as printed. The words of enactment at the head of the bill shall not be put to the committee.

117 Order of consideration

(1) The following order shall be followed in considering a bill:

(a) Clauses as printed, and proposed new clauses.

(b) Postponed clauses (not having been specially postponed till consideration of other clauses).

(c) Schedules as printed.

(d) Proposed new schedules.

(e) Preamble.

(f) Title.

(2) In reconsidering a bill, the same order shall be observed as far as possible.

(3) In reading the clauses of a bill it shall be sufficient to read the numbers only.

(4) The discussion shall be confined to the clause or amendment before the committee.

(5) A clause may be postponed, whether or not it has been amended.

118 Amendments in committee

(1) An amendment may be made to any part of a bill, provided it is relevant to the subject matter of the bill and otherwise in conformity with the rules and orders of the Senate.

(2) No new clause or amendment shall be proposed which is substantially the same as one already negatived by the committee, or which is inconsistent with one that has been agreed to by the committee, unless a recommittal of the bill has intervened.

(3) If a clause is amended, a further question shall be put, that the clause stand as amended.

(4) If an amendment has been made in the bill, not coming within the original title, the title shall be amended, and that amendment shall be specially reported to the Senate.

119 Uncompleted proceedings in committee

No notice may be taken of any proceedings of a committee of the whole, or of a standing or select committee, on a bill, until those proceedings have been reported, but the Senate may at any time order a bill to be printed as amended in committee.

120 Report from committee

(1) When the consideration of a bill in committee of the whole has been concluded the question shall be put that this bill (or this bill as amended) be reported, and if that question is agreed to the chair shall leave the chair and report the bill forthwith.

(2) On the motion that the bill be reported the reconsideration of any clauses may be moved as an amendment.

(3) If a bill is reported with amendments a future day shall be appointed for taking the report into consideration and moving its adoption, and the bill, as reported, shall be printed, but if no amendments have been made the report may be at once adopted.

121 Recommittal on report

On the motion for the adoption of the report the bill may, on motion, be recommitted, in whole or in part.

122 Third reading

(1) When the report of the committee of the whole is adopted, a future day shall be fixed for the third reading.

(2) When the order of the day for the third reading of a bill is called on, the question shall be proposed—That this bill be now read a third time.

(3) An amendment may be moved to that question by leaving out “now”, and adding “this day 6 months”, which, if carried, shall finally dispose of the bill. No other amendment may be moved to the question for the third reading.

(4) After the third reading no further question shall be put, and the bill shall be taken to have been passed by the Senate.

123 Recommittal on third reading

When the order of the day for the third reading is called on and before the motion for the third reading is carried, the bill may, on motion, be recommitted, in whole or in part.

124 Corrections

Amendments of a formal nature may be made, and clerical or typographical errors may be corrected, in any part of a bill by the Chair of Committees.

125 Transmission to House of Representatives

(1) When a bill originated in the Senate has been passed, the Clerk shall certify at the top of the first page: This bill originated in the Senate, and, having this day passed, is now ready for presentation to the House of Representatives for its concurrence.

(2) After a bill has been so certified by the Clerk, it shall be sent with a message requesting the concurrence of the House of Representatives.

126 House of Representatives amendments on bills originated in the Senate

(1) When a bill has been returned from the House of Representatives with amendments, the message and the amendments shall be printed and a time fixed for taking them into consideration in a committee of the whole.

(2) Amendments made by the House of Representatives may be agreed to with or without amendment, or disagreed to, or the consideration of them postponed, or the bill ordered to be laid aside.

(3) An amendment shall not be proposed to an amendment of the House of Representatives that is not relevant to it, and an amendment may not be moved to the bill unless it is relevant to, or consequent upon, the acceptance, amendment or rejection of a House of Representatives amendment.

(4) When amendments made by the House of Representatives have been agreed to by the Senate without amendments, a message shall be sent informing the House of Representatives accordingly.

(5) If House of Representatives amendments have been agreed to with amendments, the bill shall be returned with a schedule of those amendments, in a message requesting the concurrence of the House of Representatives.

(6) If House of Representatives amendments have been disagreed to, the bill may be laid aside, or it may be again sent to the House of Representatives, with a message requesting its reconsideration.

(7) When a bill is returned to the House of Representatives with amendments made by the House of Representatives disagreed to, the message containing the bill shall also contain reasons for the Senate not agreeing to the amendments proposed by the House of Representatives.

(8) The reasons shall be drawn up by a committee appointed for that purpose when the Senate adopts the report of the committee of the whole disagreeing to the amendments, or may be adopted by motion at that time.

(9) When amendments have been made by the Senate on the amendments of the House of Representatives, a schedule of those amendments shall be prepared, shall be certified by the Clerk, and shall accompany the bill.

127 Bill again returned from the House of Representatives

(1) If the House of Representatives returns a bill with a message informing the Senate that it:

(a) insists on its original amendments to which the Senate has disagreed;

(b) disagrees to amendments made by the Senate on the original amendments of the House of Representatives; or

(c) agrees to amendments made by the Senate on the original amendments of the House of Representatives, with further amendments,

the Senate may:

(d) agree, with or without amendment, to the amendments to which it had previously disagreed, and make, if necessary, consequent amendments to the bill;

(e) insist on its disagreement to such amendments;

(f) withdraw its amendments and agree to the original amendments of the House of Representatives;

(g) make further amendments to the bill consequent upon the rejection of its amendments;

(h) propose new amendments as alternative to the amendments to which the House of Representatives has disagreed;

(i) insist on its amendments to which the House of Representatives has disagreed;

(j) agree, with or without amendment, to such further amendments of the House of Representatives, making consequent amendments to the bill, if necessary; or

(k) disagree to the further amendments and insist on its own amendments which the House of Representatives has amended,

and if agreement is not reached or if the bill is again returned by the House of Representatives with any of the requirements of the Senate still disagreed to, the Senate shall order the bill to be laid aside, or request a conference.

(2) When the requirements of the House of Representatives in the bill have been finally agreed to, a message shall be sent informing the House of Representatives accordingly.

(3) The Clerk shall, at every stage, certify on the first page of the bill the action taken by the Senate.

128 Bills received from the House of Representatives

Bills coming to the Senate for the first time from the House of Representatives shall be proceeded with in the same manner as bills presented pursuant to orders of the Senate.

129 Requests

(1) If requests for amendments in a bill have been made (whether in addition to amendments or not), the requests shall, upon the conclusion of the committee’s proceedings, be reported to the Senate, and upon the adoption of the report a message shall be sent to the House of Representatives requesting the House to make amendments in the bill in accordance with the requests, and returning the bill.

(2) On the disposal of such requested amendments in accordance with the standing orders, the bill shall be read a third time, and, if the Senate has made amendments in the bill, the procedure with respect to amendments shall be followed.

130 Amendments changed to requests

(1) If a bill received from the House of Representatives, in which the Senate has made amendments, is returned by the House of Representatives with a suggestion that any of the amendments should be made the subject of a request by the Senate in accordance with section 53 of the Constitution, the Senate may forthwith, or on a future day, take the message into consideration in committee; and if any requests for amendments are made, the bill shall be returned to the House of Representatives with a message requesting that House to make the requested amendments.

(2) In dealing with any such requests the same procedure shall be followed as for requests made in the first instance.

(3) After the requests have been disposed of, if the amendments of the Senate have not been agreed to, the procedure with respect to amendments shall be followed.

131 Return of House of Representatives bill

(1) When a bill has been passed by the Senate with or without amendment, it shall be returned to the House of Representatives by message, with the Clerk’s certificate that the bill has been agreed to by the Senate without amendment, or with the amendments indicated by the annexed schedule, as the case may require, and the concurrence of the House of Representatives shall be requested to such amendments.

(2) When any amendments have been made by the Senate to a bill which has been first passed by the House of Representatives, a schedule of the amendments shall be prepared containing reference to the page and line of the bill where the words are to be inserted or omitted, and describing the amendments proposed, and this schedule shall be certified by the Clerk and shall accompany the bill.

132 Disagreement with Senate amendments

(1) If the House of Representatives returns a bill with amendments made by the Senate disagreed to, or further amendments made, the message returning the bill shall be printed and a time fixed for taking it into consideration in a committee of the whole.

(2) Where the House of Representatives:

(a) disagrees to amendments made by the Senate; or

(b) agrees to amendments made by the Senate with amendments,

the Senate may:

(c) insist, or not insist, on its amendments;

(d) make further amendments to the bill consequent upon the rejection of its amendments;

(e) propose new amendments as an alternative to the amendments to which the House of Representatives has disagreed;

(f) agree to the House of Representatives amendments on its own amendments, with or without amendment, making consequent amendments to the bill if necessary;

(g) disagree to those amendments and insist on its own amendments which the House of Representatives has amended; or

(h) order the bill to be laid aside,

and, unless the bill is laid aside, a message shall be sent to the House of Representatives advising of the Senate’s action.

133 House of Representatives amendments to Senate amendments

(1) When a bill is returned to the House of Representatives with amendments made by the House of Representatives on the Senate’s amendments disagreed to, the message returning the bill shall also contain reasons for the Senate not agreeing to the amendments proposed by the House of Representatives.

(2) The reasons shall be drawn up by a committee appointed for that purpose when the Senate adopts the report of the committee of the whole disagreeing to the amendments, or may be adopted by motion at that time.

(3) When further amendments are made by the Senate on the House of Representatives amendments on the Senate’s original amendments to a bill which has been first passed by the House of Representatives, a schedule of the further amendments shall be prepared, shall be certified by the Clerk and shall accompany the bill.

(4) The Clerk shall, at every stage, certify on the first page of the bill the action taken by the Senate.

134 Amendments after disagreement

Where the House of Representatives has disagreed with amendments made by the Senate in a bill first passed by the House, an amendment may not be proposed in any words of the bill which, having received the concurrence of the House of Representatives, have not been the subject of, or immediately affected by, some previous amendment, unless the proposed amendment is consequent on an amendment already agreed to or made by the Senate.

135 Bills amending the Constitution

If the third reading of a bill proposing an alteration of the Constitution is not carried by an absolute majority of the Senate the bill shall be forthwith laid aside without any question being put, and shall not be revived during the same session.

136 Lapsed bills

(1) A bill which lapses by reason of a prorogation before it has reached its final stage may be proceeded with in the next session at the stage it had reached in the preceding session, if a periodical election for the Senate or general election for either House has not taken place between the 2 sessions, under the following conditions:

(a) If the bill is in the possession of the House in which it originated, not having been sent to the other House, or, if sent, then returned by message, it may be proceeded with by resolution of the House in which it is, restoring it to the Notice Paper.

(b) If the bill is in the possession of the House in which it did not originate it may be proceeded with by resolution of the House in which it is, restoring it to the Notice Paper, but such resolution shall not be passed unless a message has been received from the House in which it originated, requesting that its consideration be resumed.

(2) A bill so restored to the Notice Paper may be proceeded with in both Houses as if its passage had not been interrupted by a prorogation, and, if finally passed, shall be presented to the Governor-General for assent.

(3) If a motion for restoration of a bill to the Notice Paper is not agreed to, the bill may be introduced and proceeded with in the ordinary manner.

137 Presentation for assent

A bill originated in the Senate and finally passed by both Houses shall be printed and presented by the President to the Governor-General for assent, having been certified by the Clerk accordingly.

138 Amendments proposed by the Governor-General

(1) When the Governor-General returns a bill recommending amendments, the amendments shall be considered and dealt with in the same manner as amendments proposed by the House of Representatives.

(2) When the Senate has agreed to an amendment proposed by the Governor-General, with or without amendment, the amendment, together with any alterations necessary to be made in the bill in consequence of the amendment, shall be forwarded to the House of Representatives for its concurrence; and any amendment made by the House of Representatives shall be dealt with in the same manner as amendments made by the House of Representatives on bills originated in the Senate.

(3) Amendments recommended by the Governor-General in bills originated in the House of Representatives, which have been agreed to by the House of Representatives and forwarded for the concurrence of the Senate, shall be proceeded with in the same manner as amendments made by the House of Representatives on the Senate’s amendments to bills first received from the House of Representatives.

(4) When amendments recommended by the Governor-General in a bill originated in the Senate have been agreed to by both Houses with or without amendment, the bill shall be printed and presented by the President to the Governor-General, having been certified accordingly.

(5) If any such amendment is disagreed to by the Senate, or if no agreement between the Houses is reached, the President shall again present to the Governor-General for assent the bill in the form as first presented for that purpose.

139 Assent to bill

(1) A copy of an Act resulting from a bill which originated in the Senate, bearing the Governor-General’s signature and showing the date of assent, shall be retained by the Clerk.

(2) There shall be laid on the table, on or before 31 August each year, details of all provisions of Acts which come into effect on proclamation and which have not been proclaimed, together with a statement of reasons for their non-proclamation and a timetable for their operation.

(amended 13 February 1997, 22 November 1999)

140 Requests on bills not amendable by the Senate

(1) Requests to the House of Representatives may be made at all or any of the following stages of a bill which the Senate may not amend:

(a) On the motion for the first reading of the bill.

(b) In committee after the second reading has been agreed to.

(c) On consideration of any message from the House of Representatives referring to the bill.

(d) On the third reading of the bill.

(2) A committee may recommend that the Senate make, press, or modify, and may generally deal with, requests on the bill.

(3) Proceedings in committee shall be as follows:

(a) The chair shall call on each clause or item, and put the question––That the clause or item be now passed without requests.

(b) If motions for requests are moved and passed, the chair shall put a further question––That the clause or item be now passed, subject to the requests being complied with.

(c) If either of those questions is negatived, it shall again be proposed by the chair, and consideration of the clause or item may continue until either question is agreed to.

(d) At the request of a senator a clause or item shall be divided.

(4) When a request to the House of Representatives is made a message shall be sent to the House of Representatives returning the bill and requesting the House to make amendments in the bill in accordance with the request.

141 Requests not complied with

(1) Messages from the House of Representatives referring to requests by the Senate which do not completely comply with the requests as originally made or as modified shall be considered in committee.

(2) If a bill is returned to the Senate by the House of Representatives with a request not agreed to, or agreed to with modifications, any of the following motions may be moved:

(a) That the request be pressed.

(b) That the request be not pressed.

(c) That the modifications be agreed to.

(d) That the modifications be not agreed to.

(e) That another modification of the original request be made.

(f) That the request be not pressed, or agreed to as modified, subject to a request relating to another clause or item, which the committee orders to be reconsidered, being complied with.

(3) If a message is returned from the House of Representatives completely complying with requests of the Senate as originally made or as modified, the bill, as altered, may be proceeded with in the usual way.

142 Limitation of debate on bills

(1) When a motion for leave to introduce a bill is called on, or when a message is received from the House of Representatives transmitting a bill for concurrence, or at any other stage of a bill, a minister may declare that the bill is an urgent bill, and move that the bill be considered an urgent bill, and such motion shall be put forthwith without debate or amendment.

(2) If that motion is agreed to, a minister may forthwith, or at any time during any sitting of the Senate or committee, but not so as to interrupt a senator who is speaking, move a further motion or motions specifying the time which (exclusive of any adjournment or suspension of sitting, and notwithstanding anything contained in any other standing or other order) shall be allotted to all or any stages of the bill, and an order with regard to the time allotted to the committee stage of the bill may, out of the time allotted, apportion time to particular clauses, or to particular parts of the bill.

(3) On such further motion or motions with regard to the allotment of time, debate shall not exceed 60 minutes, and in speaking, a senator shall not exceed 10 minutes, and if the debate is not sooner concluded, forthwith upon the expiration of that time the President or the chair shall put any questions on any amendment or motion already proposed from the chair.

(4) For the purpose of bringing to a conclusion any proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion on the expiration of the time allotted under any motion passed under the provisions of this standing order, the President or the chair shall at the time appointed put forthwith the question on any amendment or motion already proposed from the chair, and, in the case of the consideration of any bill in committee, shall then put any clauses and any amendments and new clauses and schedules, copies of which have been circulated among senators 2 hours at least before the expiration of the allotted time, and any other question requisite to dispose of the business before the Senate or committee, and no other amendments, new clauses or schedules shall be proposed.

(5) The motion that the question be now put shall not be moved in any proceedings in respect of which time has been allotted under this standing order.

(6) Where a time has been specified for the commencement of proceedings under this standing order, when the time so specified has been reached the business then before the Senate or committee shall be postponed forthwith and the consideration of the urgent bill proceeded with, and all steps necessary to enable this to be done shall be taken accordingly.

(amended 22 November 1999)

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