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.


Australia and New Zealand Association of Clerks-at-the-Table


Australian Government tender system


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.

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 Senate and provide procedural advice while taking the minutes of Senate proceedings.


Agency responsible for workplace safety, rehabilitation and compensation for Australian Government employees

committee of the whole amendments

Amendments proposed to the text of bills dealt with by a committee consisting of all the members of the Senate formed to consider a bill in detail

department, the

Department of the Senate


Department of Parliamentary Services

estimates committees

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


Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth)


information and communications technology


International and Community Relations Office


Inter-Parliamentary Union


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

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.


Parliamentary Education Office


Parliamentary Executive Professional Upgrade Program


Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013


Parliamentary ICT Advisory Board


Parliamentary Papers Series

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 House department and together they are responsible for the Department of Parliamentary Services and the Parliamentary Budget Office.

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 Shared Committees 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.

second reading amendments

Proposed resolutions which comment on or affect the passage of bills, but do not propose specific changes to the text of bills.


Senior Executive Service


Senate Public Information Office

Standing Orders

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


Table Office Production System