Alphabetical guide

A guide to Senate publications, documents and resources


Alert Digests (Scrutiny of Bills Committee)

Issued each week when the Senate is sitting, the Alert Digest summarises the bills considered by the Scrutiny of Bills Committee that week and sets out the Committee's views on any clauses which it considers contravenes the principles contained in its terms of reference.

Annotated Standing Orders of the Australian Senate

The Annotated Standing Orders provide a history, context and rationale for each of the Senate standing orders (rules which govern the conduct of proceedings).

Annual Report, Department of the Senate

Australasian Federal Conventions of the 1890s–Records

Transcripts of debates of the 1890 Australasian Federation Conference and the Australasian Federal Conventions of 1897 and 1898 which were attended by representatives of the colonies to draft the Australian Constitution.

Bills Lists 

These publications provide a complete list of all bills before Parliament for the current calendar year and details of their progress through both houses of Parliament.

Bills Referred to Committees

A list of bills currently before Senate legislation committees and their reporting dates.

Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate

The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate is an authoritative work of reference on the lives and careers of senators of the Australian Parliament. The three volumes published so far cover all senators whose parliamentary service ended in or prior to 1983.

Can Responsible Government Survive in Australia? by David Hamer

This work, published in 2004, provides a detailed and systematic comparative analysis of the powers and procedures of twenty legislatures in Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Committees–Today's hearings

Also known as the "Committee Red", this document is issued the day before committees are scheduled to hold public hearings in Parliament House. It lists the time, place and business of forthcoming committee meetings and hearings, the names of committee chairs and secretaries, and a list of persons scheduled to appear as witnesses (when known).

Committees—Upcoming hearings

Contains the date, time, venue and purpose of forthcoming committee meetings and hearings both at Parliament House and elsewhere. Lists the name and phone number of the secretary of each committee scheduled to meet.


The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act outlines the fundamental principles for the system of government in Australia including the membership and powers of the Senate.

Corporate Plan, Department of the Senate

The Corporate Plan outlines the department’s strategic direction in providing non-partisan advice, support and information to senators, and information about the Senate and its committees to the public.

Delegated Legislation Monitor 

Published each week when the Senate is sitting, the Monitor lists disallowable instruments of delegated legislation tabled in the Senate in the preceding week, summarises the effect of the delegated legislation, cites the parent Act from which it derives its authority, and notes the date it was made and the date it was tabled.

Disallowance Alert

A list of disallowance notices before the Senate.

Dynamic Red

The Dynamic Red provides information on the proceedings of the Senate which is updated during the course of the sitting day. It shows the progress of legislation and the results of motions moved and other business conducted in the Senate. Where possible, it also contains links to source documents such as those relating to committee memberships, tabled documents and amendments to legislation.

Government Guidelines for Official Witnesses Before Parliamentary Committees and Related Matters 

These are guidelines on the procedures to be adopted by government officers when requested to assist parliamentary committees. The guidelines are the government's views and have not been endorsed by either House of Parliament.

Guides to Senate Procedure

This series is aimed at those who require a practical understanding of the main procedures used in the Senate.


Hansard is the name given to the edited transcripts of debates in the Senate, House of Representatives, Federation Chamber and parliamentary committees. They are published shortly after the chamber or committee proceedings have concluded.

How to Make a Submission to a Senate or Joint Committee Inquiry

This leaflet contains general advice to those wishing to make written submissions to committees.

I seek leave to continue my remarks... Forgotten stories from the Australian Senate

This wide-ranging book retells 31 forgotten tales from the Australian Senate and the wider parliamentary world.

Journals of the Senate 

The Journals of the Senate are the official record (minutes) of the proceedings of the Senate and the most authoritative source of information about Senate activities and decisions. They record all actions taken by the Senate in the course of its proceedings.

Lists of Senators 

Includes a database of senators—searchable by name, state/territory and party—which lists senators’ portfolio or office holder positions and provides links to an email or online form. Tables show commencement and expiry dates of senators' terms of service, dates and place of birth and female senators. Also includes a contact list of senators.

Notes for the Guidance of Witnesses Appearing Before Senate Committees 

This leaflet describes the procedures relating to the appearance of witnesses at committee hearings and contains advice to those appearing as witnesses.

Notice Paper

The Notice Paper is the official list of business before the Senate and includes forthcoming business and other useful information.

Odgers' Australian Senate Practice 

Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice is a detailed reference work on all aspects of the Senate's powers, procedures and practices. Matters covered range from broad constitutional principles to the fine details of the rules of debate and procedure. The work has for its base the Constitution, the standing orders, rulings of successive presidents, practice and precedent.

Order of Business—Senate "Red"

The Senate Order of Business is issued each sitting day before the Senate meets as a guide to the matters proposed to be dealt with that day, and includes a list of government documents to be tabled. It is referred to as the Senate "Red" because of the distinctive red stripe along its top and side. The Red contains the most up-to-date information available at the time it is printed. The program in the Senate, however, is subject to change, so the details in the Red are updated throughout the day online in the Dynamic Red.

Papers on Parliament 

Papers in this series include texts of Senate Occasional Lectures and other papers on parliamentary and governance issues.

Papers Presented to Parliament—Index

An index to papers presented in the House of Representatives and the Senate (published twice each year).

Parliamentary Privilege: Precedents, Procedures and Practice in the Australian Senate 1966–2005, Privileges Committee, 125th report (Parliamentary Paper No. 3/2006)

This report is a comprehensive guide to the history, practice and procedures of the Senate Committee of Privileges. It contains a history and analysis of Senate privilege matters from 1901 to 2005, a summary and index of Privileges Committee reports from its establishment in 1966, statistics on the committee's work and lists of members, chairs and deputy chairs.

Platypus and Parliament: The Australian Senate in Theory and Practice by Stanley Bach

This major study of the history and operations of the Australian Senate covers a range of topics including the design and operation of Australia’s system of government, an analysis of the confrontation between the Senate and the House of Representatives in 1975, proposals for parliamentary reform, the republic debate, minority parties and the balance of power, mandate theory, accountability and responsible government.

Portfolio Budget Statements

Department of the Senate budget initiatives and explanations of appropriations specified by outcome.

Procedural Information Bulletins

Issued at the end of each block of sitting weeks, the Bulletin provides a summary of major legislative highlights and committee reports tabled; and a commentary on the major procedural matters arising in the period under review.

Procedures to be Observed by Senate Committees for the Protection of Witnesses

This leaflet outlines procedures governing the appearance of witnesses before Senate committees including matters constituting contempts in relation to Senate committees.

Register of Senate Committee Reports 

The Register of Senate Committee Reports lists reports tabled since 1970 by committees administered by the Senate Committee Office and bills referred to committees.

Scrutiny of Bills Committee Reports

The Scrutiny of Bills Committee examines all bills and reports to the Senate on whether they contravene principles contained in its terms of reference. The reports also include the responses of ministers to the committee's concerns.

Scrutiny of Disallowable Instruments

The 'Scrutiny of Disallowable Instruments' lists those disallowable instruments (both legislative and non-legislative) that appear to breach the principles of scrutiny of the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances.

Senate Briefs

This series of information sheets aims to give a basic introduction to the Senate and its work.

Senate Daily Summary

The Senate Daily Summary is a convenient summary of each day’s proceedings in the Senate. Most of the items in the Summary have direct links to the relevant section of the Journals and other Senate documents.

Senate Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees—The First 20 Years, 1970–1990

Outlines the work of each of the legislative and general purpose standing committees during the period 1970–1990. An introductory section outlines the origins of the standing committee system.

Senate Research Papers

Includes papers prepared for the Parliamentary Studies Centre, Australian National University; and papers by former Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans.

Standing Orders and Other Orders of the Senate

The Senate’s operating rules are contained in standing orders which govern the conduct of proceedings. They cover a wide range of topics, including the election of the President, the handling of legislation, formation of committees, routine of business and the conduct of senators. They are made and amended from time to time by the Senate under section 50 of the Constitution and are supplemented by other miscellaneous procedural orders which cover matters such as parliamentary privilege.

          Previous editions of the Standing Orders and other orders of the Senate

          Annotated Standing Orders of the Australian Senate

Statistics (StatsNET)

A compilation of pages providing statistical breakdowns of various activities of the Senate.

Tabled Papers

This database provides a search facility to enable access to digitised images of documents tabled in the Senate since 1901.

Tips on searching the database

There Being No Objection... An Australian Senate Miscellany

A Miscellany is a collection of various, miscellaneous items brought together in a single volume. There Being No Objection provides insights to some of the parliamentary puzzles that have long mystified Australians.

Work of Committees 

Issued twice yearly, Work of Committees provides an overview of committee activities for the period under review.