Senate Routine of Business

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Routine of business in the Senate as set out in standing order 57 and related orders, incorporating temporary orders agreed to on 13 November and 14 November 2013

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

10am
Prayers and acknowledgement of country
Government business only

2 pm   
Questions
Motions to take note of answers
(Time limit: 30 mins)
Petitions
Notices of motion
Placing of business
Discovery of formal business
MPI or urgency motion
(Time limit: 1 hr, or if no motions to take note, 90 mins)
Ministerial statements
Tabling of documents
Committee memberships
Messages from House of Representatives
Order of business
   
6.30 to
 7.30 pm   
Sitting suspended—
(DINNER BREAK)
 
7.30 pm
   
Order of business continued
 
9.50 pm   
Adjournment proposed
(Time limit: 40 mins)



12.30 pm   
Prayers and acknowledgement of country
Government documents
(Presented pursuant to order)
Government business only

2 pm   
Questions
Motions to take note of answers
(Time limit: 30 mins)
Petitions
Notices of motion
Placing of business
Discovery of formal business
MPI or urgency motion
(SO 75—Time limit: 1 hr, or if no motions to take note, 90 mins)
Ministerial statements
Tabling of documents
Committee memberships
Messages from House of Representatives
Order of business
 
6.50 pm   
Consideration of government documents tabled earlier in the day
(SO 61Time limit: 30 mins)
 
7.20 pm   
Adjournment proposed
(No time limit)

9.30 am   
Prayers and acknowledgement of country
Government documents
(Presented pursuant to order)
Government business only

12.45 pm
   
Discussion of matters of public interest (SO 57(2))
      
2 pm   
Questions
Motions to take note of answers
(Time limit: 30 mins)
Petitions
Notices of motion
Placing of business
Discovery of formal business
MPI or urgency motion
(SO 75—Time limit: 1 hr, or if no motions to take note, 90 mins)
Tabling and consideration
of committee reports
(SO 62(4)—Time limit: 1 hr)
Ministerial statements
Tabling of documents
Committee memberships
Messages from House of Representatives
Order of business
 
6.50 pm   
Consideration of government documents tabled earlier in the day
(SO 61—Time limit: 30 mins)
 
7.20 pm   
Adjournment proposed
(Time limit: 40 mins)

9.30 am   
Prayers and acknowledgement of country
‡General business, orders of the day for consideration of bills (SO 57(1)Time limit: 2 hrs and 20 mins)
Petitions
Notices of motion
Placing of business
Discovery of formal business
Tabling and consideration
of committee reports
(SO 62(4)Time limit: 1 hr)
Committee memberships
Messages from House of
Representatives
Order of business

12.45 pm
Non‑controversial government business only

2 pm   
Questions
Motions to take note of answers
(Time limit: 30 mins)
MPI or urgency motion
(Time limit: 1 hr, or if no motions to take note, 90 mins)
Ministerial statements
Government responses to
parliamentary committee
reports
Tabling of documents

Not later
 than 4.30 pm 
General business

(Notices of motion and orders of the day)

Not later
 than 6 pm 
General business, cont.

(SO 61(3)—Consideration of government documents. Time limit: 1 hr)

Not later
 than 7 pm   
Consideration of committee reports and government responses and Auditor-General’s reports (SO 62Time limit: 1 hr)
      
8 pm   
Adjournment proposed
(Time limit: 40 mins)


General Times

Times of meetings of the Senate
Monday‡              10 am to 6.30 pm, 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm
Tuesday†             12.30 pm to adjournment
Wednesday†         9.30 am to 8 pm
Thursday              9.30 am to 8.40 pm

Petitions close (see: Brief Guide No. 7—Petitions*)
9.30 am on a day on which the Senate sits at 12.30 pm.
5 pm on the working day prior to the Senate sitting at 9.30 am and 10 am‡.

Questions on notice close (see: Brief Guide No. 6—Questions*)
At 5 pm on sitting days and 2 pm on the Wednesday before the next day of sitting in non-sitting weeks.

Senate Numbers

Quorum                             19 (one-quarter)
Absolute majority         39

Debating Opportunities and Time Limits

(see: Brief Guide No. 2—Rules of Debate*)

Bills (see: Brief Guide No. 16—Consideration of legislation*)
1° of non-amendable bill..... 15 mins. SO 112(2)
2°.............................................. 20 mins. SO 189(1)
In committee.......................... 15 mins. SO 189(3)
(+ possible extension of 15 mins)
3°.............................................. 20 mins. SO 189(1)
Selection of Bills Committee—
adoption of report................... 5 mins. SO 24A(7)
(limit for debate: 30 mins)
Reference of a bill to committee 5 mins. SO 115(6)
(limit for debate: 30 mins)

 

Debating Opportunities and Time Limits—continued

Committee reports and government responses (see: Brief Guide No. 11—Opportunities for debating documents and reports*)
Motions relating to report on
Wednesday or Thursday.............................................. 10 mins........... SO 62(4)
(limit for debate: 1 hr)
Resumption (Thursday)............................................... 10 mins........... SO 62(1)
(limit for debate: 1 hr)

Debate
General........................................................................... 20 mins........... SO 189(1)
Extension of time (possible)....................................... 10 mins........... SO 189(1)
In committee................................................................. 15 mins........... SO 189(3)
In reply............................................................................ 20 mins........... SO 189(2)

Documents (General)

Motions moved by leave.............................................. 10 mins........... SO 169(2)
(limit for debate: 30 mins per motion, 1 hr for all motions)

Government documents—consideration
(see: Brief Guide No. 11—Opportunities for debating documents and reports*)
Motion to take note (Tuesday and Wednesday)............ 5 mins........... SO 61(3)
(limit for debate: 30 mins)
Resumption (Thursday)................................................... 5 mins........... SO 61(3)
(limit for debate: 1 hr)

Matters of Public Importance/Urgency
(see: Brief Guide No. 9—Matters of public importance and urgency*)
All speakers..................................................................... 10 mins........... SO 75(7)
(limit for debate: 1 hr, or 90 mins if no motions are moved after question time to take note of answers)

Discussion of matters of public interest
...... 15 mins........... SO 57(2)

Questions
(see: Brief Guide No. 6—Questions*)
› Without notice
Primary question................................................................ 1 min............ SO 72(3)
Answering question........................................................... 2 mins.......... SO 72(3)
Supplementary questions .............................................. 30 secs............ SO 72(3)
Answering supplementary................................................ 1 min............ SO 72(3)
Debate on motions relating to answers.......................... 5 mins.......... SO 72(4)
(limit for debate: 30 mins)

Suspension of standing orders

(see: Brief Guide No. 5—Suspension of standing orders*).. 5 mins.. SO 209(4)
(limit for debate: 30 mins)

Debate for the election of the President of the Senate
 15 mins........ SO 6(2)

Adjournment of the Senate
.................................... 10 mins........... SO 54(5)
(limit for debate: 40 mins, except for Tuesday which has no limit on debate)

SO = standing orders   
*   Brief Guides to Senate Procedure  
†   Broadcast day

‡ Temporary order agreed to 22 November 2010 upon adoption of recommendation in the Procedure Committee’s 4th report of 2010; continuation agreed to 12 May 2011, 24 November 2011, 27 June 2012 upon adoption of recommendation in the Procedure Committee’s 1st report of 2012, 6 February 2013, and 14 November 2013.

› Temporary order agreed to 25 November 2009; continuation agreed to 28 October 2010 upon adoption of recommendation in the Procedure Committee’s 3rd report of 2010, 1 March 2011, 24 March 2011 upon adoption of recommendation in the Procedure Committee’s 1st report of 2011, 12 May 2011, 24 November 2011, 14 August 2012, 6 February 2013, and 13 November 2013.

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