Senate Routine of Business

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Senate Routine of Business as set out in standing order 57 and related orders, and including temporary orders and general times, and debating opportunities and time limits

Last updated: 13 November 2014

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

10 am Prayers and acknowledgement of country
° Documents
(Presented pursuant to order)
° Clerk’s documents
° Committees—authorisation to meet
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)
° Consideration of documents tabled earlier in the day
(SO 61—Time limit: 30 mins)
Ministerial statements
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
° Documents
(Presented pursuant to order)
° Clerk’s documents
° Committees—authorisation to meet
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)
° Consideration of documents tabled earlier in the day
(SO 61—Time limit: 30 mins)
° Tabling and consideration of committee reports
(SO 62(4)—Time limit: 1 hr)
Ministerial statements
Committee memberships
Messages from House of Representatives
Order of business

7.20 pm° Adjournment proposed
(Time limit: 2 hrs 10 mins)

9.30 am Prayers and acknowledgement of country
Documents
(Presented pursuant to order)
° Clerk’s documents
° Committees—authorisation to meet
Government business only

12.45 pm° Senators’ statements
(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)
° Consideration of documents tabled earlier in the day
(SO 61—Time limit: 30 mins)
Tabling and consideration of committee reports
(SO 62(4)—Time limit: 1 hr)
Ministerial statements
Committee memberships
Messages from House of Representatives
Order of business

7.20 pm Adjournment proposed
(Time limit: 40 mins)

9.30 am Prayers and acknowledgement of country
° Clerk’s documents
° Committees—authorisation to meet
‡   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
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)
° Tabling and consideration of committee reports
(SO 62(4)Time limit: 1 hr)
Ministerial statements

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 documents. Time limit:1 hr)

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

8 pm°  Adjournment proposed
(No time limit)

 


 

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 9.30 pm°

Wednesday📣 9.30 am to 8 pm

Thursday 9.30 am to adjournment°

Closing times

Documents—need to be received by the sub Table Office no later than 5 pm of the working day before the document is to be tabled.

Extensions of time for a committee to report (routine)—the form, signed by the chair of the committee, is to be lodged by hand with the sub Table Office by 3 pm on a sitting Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday and by 11 am on a sitting Thursday.

Notifications authorising committees to meet during the sitting of the Senate—the form, signed by the chair of the committee, is to be lodged by hand with the sub Table Office no later than 30 mins prior to that sitting day commencing.

Petitions (see: Brief Guide No. 7 – Petitions)—must be lodged with the Table Office by:

9.30 am on a day on which the Senate sits at 12.30 pm; and
5 pm of the working day prior to the Senate sitting at 9.30 am and 10 am‡.

Questions on notice (see: Brief Guide No. 6 – Questions)—must be lodged with the Table Office no later than 5 pm on sitting days, and in non-sitting weeks by 2 pm on the Wednesday before the next day of sitting, to be registered in the next Notice Paper.


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)
20 mins  SO 189(1)
In committee 15 mins
(+ possible extension of 15 mins) 
 SO 189(3)
20 mins   SO 189(1)
Selection of Bills Committee—adoption of report 5 mins
(limit for debate: 30 mins)
 SO 24A(7)
Reference of a bill to committee  5 mins
(limit for debate: 30 mins) 
 SO 115(6)

 

Committee reports and government responses

(see: Brief Guide No. 11 – Opportunities for debating documents and reports)

 Motions relating to report on Tuesday°, Wednesday or Thursday 10 mins 
(limit for debate: 1 hr)
 SO 62(4)
 Resumption, including Auditor-General’s reports (Thursday) 10 mins
(limit for debate: 1 hr) 
 SO 62(1)
 Motions moved by leave 10 mins
(limit for debate: 30 mins per motion,
1 hr for all motions) 
 SO 62(1)

Debate

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

Documents

(see: Brief Guide No. 11 – Opportunities for debating documents and reports*)

 Motion to take note (Monday°, Tuesday and Wednesday) 5 mins
(limit for debate: 30 mins 
SO 61(3) 
 Resumption (Thursday) 5 mins
(limit for debate: 1 hr) 
SO 61(3)
 Motions moved by leave 10 mins
(limit for debate: 30 mins per motion,
1 hr for all motions)
SO 169(2)

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)

Questions

(see: Brief Guide No. 6 – Questions)

 Without notice
    Primary question
    Answering question
    Supplementary questions (2)
    Answering suupplementary

1 min 
2 mins
30 sec
1 min

SO 72(3) 
SO 72(3)
SO 72(3)
SO 72(3)
 Debate on motions relating to answers 5 mins
(limit for debate: 30 mins) 
 SO 72(4)

 

Senators' statements°

10 mins SO 57(2) 

 

Suspension of standing orders

(see: Brief Guide No. 5 – Suspension of standing orders)

 

 

 

 

 

5 mins
(limit for debate: 30 mins) 
SO 209(4) 
 

Debate for the election of the President of the Senate

 15 mins  SO 6(2)

Adjournment of the Senate

Monday and Wednesday  10 mins  SO 54(5) 
Tuesday° 5 mins | 10 mins SO 54(5) & (5A) 
Thursday° 5 mins | 10 mins | 20 mins SO 54(5) & (6)
(limit for debate: 40 mins (Monday and Wednesday); 2 hours 10 mins (Tuesday), no limit on debate (Thursday)°)

 

‡ 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, 14 November 2013, and 24 June 2014 (amended).

° Temporary order agreed to 24 September 2014 upon adoption of recommendation in the Procedure Committee’s 2nd and 3rd reports of 2014.

📣 Broadcast day

SO Standing orders

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