Glossary and abbreviations list

amendments and requests for amendments

Proposals to alter a bill, which may be moved by any senator or member. Any amendments made by one House must be agreed to by the other House before a bill can become law. The Senate may not amend bills imposing taxation or appropriating money for the Commonwealth’s ordinary annual services; nor may it amend an appropriation bill so as to increase a charge or burden on the people. The Senate may ‘request’ the House of Representatives to make such amendments.


A proposal for a law that is introduced into parliament. Bills are considered consecutively by the two Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The two Houses must agree to a bill in identical terms before it can be transmitted to the Governor-General for assent, which marks its passage into law.


Bills System Advisory Group


compact disc

clerks at the table

Clerks, including the Clerk (the head of the department), the Deputy Clerk and other senior officers of the department, who sit in the chamber and provide procedural advice while taking the minutes of Senate proceedings.


A document handling system consisting of a series of private searchable websites for each committee, accessible only to members of the committee and their authorised staff.

department, the

Department of the Senate

disallowance notice

A procedure by which a senator notifies the Senate that he/she seeks to disallow certain delegated legislation.

estimates committees

The term commonly used to describe the consideration of the annual and additional estimates of expenditure of government departments and agencies.


The digitised Parliamentary Papers Series.


full-time equivalent

furniture replacement project

A departmental project to replace, within the department and for senators’ staff, furniture that has reached the end of its useful life.


goods and services tax

Inspeximus copy of Magna Carta

The 1297 Inspeximus copy of Magna Carta endorsed by King Edward I, which confirms the principal provisions of the original Magna Carta.

messenger support

Services provided in the Senate chamber by the chamber attendants, which include distribution of documents, conveyance of messages and supervision of chamber doors during divisions (formal votes) and quorum calls.

motions/procedural motions

Proposals for the Senate to agree to something, which must be expressed in a way that conforms with the Standing Orders.


occupational health and safety

parliamentary privilege

Two significant aspects of the law relating to parliament: the privileges or immunities of the Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament; and the powers of the Houses to protect the integrity of their processes, particularly the power to punish contempts.


A publishing format that allows hard-copy documents to be captured as electronic versions suitable for use in a range of systems and applications.


Parliamentary Education Office


Parliamentary Executive Professional Upgrade Program

presiding officers

The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives are the presiding officers. Each presides over the proceedings of his or her respective House. Administratively, each is responsible for his or her respective chamber department and together they are responsible for the Department of Parliamentary Services.

questions on notice

When referred to in the context of the Senate, these are written questions to ministers from other senators. Questions on notice in the context of estimates proceedings are written or oral questions from committee members to a minister and/or the minister’s departmental officers, which require written answers from the minister or the minister’s department.

running sheet

A checklist of amendments used by senators when considering bills in the committee of the whole. Running sheets show all proposed amendments, identified by subject matter and grouped as needed; conflicts between amendments; relevant references in the bills under consideration; and procedural questions to be posed by the Chair of Committees.

schedules of amendments

Lists of amendments to bills, agreed to by the Senate, which are forwarded to the House of Representatives for consideration.


The Senate Centralised Information Database which is used to manage information and documents to support committee inquiries.

scripts/procedural scripts

Scripts containing both routine and complex wording to be used by senators to ensure compliance with standing orders when taking part in proceedings in the Senate.

senators’ survey, survey of senators’ satisfaction

A biennial survey commissioned by the department and conducted by an independent research services organisation to assess senators’ satisfaction with the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of the services provided by the department—most recently conducted in early 2011.


Senior Executive Service


A software application that enables users to make voice and video calls over the Internet.

Standing Orders

Procedural rules that govern the conduct of proceedings in the Senate and its committees.

third reading print

A bill which is amended by the House in which it originates is reprinted to incorporate the amendments before it is transmitted to the other House. The bill is transmitted in the form in which it is ‘read a third time’ in the originating House and is known as the ‘third reading print’.


Table Office Production System


Total Records and Information Management (the department’s record keeping system)