House of Representatives Practice, 6th edition – HTML version

8 - Order of business and the sitting day

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Meeting and adjournment of the Federation Chamber

All Members are members of the Federation Chamber.[263] Although the Federation Chamber is permitted to meet at any time during a sitting of the House[264] (including during a suspension of the House), in practice it does not meet during Question Time or at other times when all or most Members’ presence might be expected in the House. The standard order of business for the Federation Chamber is shown in the diagram at page 269. However, it is common for the Federation Chamber to sit for additional hours, for example during consideration of the Budget. The Deputy Speaker sets the meeting times for the Federation Chamber,[265] although in practice the Deputy Speaker is informed of the Government’s wishes as to meeting times. Even if the Federation Chamber has previously adjourned until a certain day and time, the time fixed may be changed, and Members are notified accordingly.[266] The Deputy Speaker usually takes the chair at the commencement of proceedings, but other members of the Speaker’s panel may do so.[267]

The Federation Chamber is adjourned on the completion of the consideration of all matters referred to it by the House, upon the adjournment of the House, or by motion moved without notice by any Member.[268] In case of a lack of quorum the Chair may adjourn the Federation Chamber or suspend proceedings until a stated time.[269] Proceedings are also adjourned or suspended in cases of disorder (at the initiative of the Chair or on motion without notice by any Member)[270] and suspended for the duration of any division occurring in the House.[271] Following any suspension or adjournment of the Federation Chamber, it may resume proceedings at the point at which they were interrupted.[272] The Federation Chamber continues to meet during a suspension of the House, for example because of the lack of a quorum.[273]

For discussion of the adjournment debate in the Federation Chamber see Chapter on ‘Non-government business’. On the adjournment of the Federation Chamber the Deputy Speaker announces that the Federation Chamber is adjourned to a stated day and time, or until a time to be fixed. In the latter case the time of the next meeting fixed by the Deputy Speaker is announced in a statement in the House.

Federation Chamber order of business

The meeting times of the Federation Chamber are fixed by the Deputy Speaker and are subject to change. Adjournment debates can occur on days other than Thursdays by agreement between the Whips.

263. S.O. 184(a). The Main Committee was renamed the Federation Chamber from 27 February 2012 (VP 2010–12/1179).
264. S.O. 186.
265. S.O. 186.
266. E.g. VP 2004–07/1391, 2092, 2115. On 14 March 2012 the Federation Chamber met a second time on the same day pursuant to the determination of the Deputy Speaker, after having earlier adjourned and the Deputy Speaker having fixed the following day for the next meeting. VP 2010–12/1315–6.
267. E.g. H.R. Deb. (26.2.2007) 133.
268. S.O. 190(c), 190(e).
269. S.O. 190(b), e.g. VP 1998–2001/1942; VP 2008–10/653 (and see ‘Quorum in the Federation Chamber’ at p. 274).
270. S.O. 187(b), see ‘Disorder in the Federation Chamber’ in Ch. on ‘Control and conduct of debate’.
271. S.O. 190(a), e.g. VP 1993–95/2477; VP 1996–98/212; VP 1998–2001/1044; VP 2008–10/653.
272. S.O. 196.
273. E.g. H.R. Deb. (24.5.2006) 94, 196–200.