These pages contain graphs showing breakdowns of how the Senate spent its time in each calendar year, as well as comparisons with previous years. For this purpose, business has been broken down into the following categories:
Business of the Senate includes disallowance motions, motions to refer matters to standing committees and motions concerning the qualification of a senator. It has precedence over government business and general business for the day on which it is listed, except on Monday between 10 am and 2 pm, Tuesday between 12.30 and 2 pm, Wednesday between 9.30 am and 12.45 pm, and for a period of 2 hours and 20 minutes on Thursday mornings.
Government business is business initiated by a minister and includes all debate on government bills. Government business takes precedence over general business except for a period of 2 hours and 20 minutes on Thursday mornings and 2 and a half hours on Thursday afternoons.
General business is initiated by senators who are not ministers. It includes motions to take note of answers, most notices of motion, consideration of committee reports and government responses and matters of public interest. General business takes precedence over government business on Thursdays as described above.
Questions include question time and additional answers given by ministers at the end of question time.
Urgency motions and matters of public importance (MPIs) may be proposed by senators on any sitting day, pursuant to standing order 75. At the conclusion of the debate there is no vote taken on the substantive issue of the matter or motion. However, in the case of urgency motions, a procedural vote is taken as to whether the matter is considered urgent or not.
Other business includes prayers, petitions, postponements and ceremonial business.
Adjournment: Note that the time for the adjournment debate is not included in the figures shown.