Chapter 14 - Motions and questions

89    Superseded question

A question may be superseded by the moving of motions for:

  1. the adjournment of the Senate;
  2. the adjournment of the debate;
  3. the orders of the day to be called on; and
  4. the previous question.

Amendment history

Adopted: 19 August 1903 as SO 129

1989 revision: Old SO 136 renumbered as SO 89; language simplified and points 1 –4 restructured as paragraphs (a) to (d); paragraph (b) replaced a reference to adjournment for want of a quorum, already covered by the terms of paragraph (a)


Procedures to avoid or delay the putting of a question either temporarily or permanently are provided in SO 89. Only the method prescribed by paragraph (b) is in common use. Another common method used to delay a decision is to continue to debate the motion during the time available until that business is interrupted by the operation of SO 57 or any other order of the Senate.[1] The resulting order of the day, if it is government business, may be moved to the end of government business orders of the day on the Notice Paper and delayed indefinitely at the government’s discretion by the use of SO 65. If the motion is a general business motion that remains unresolved at the end of the time available for general business on Thursdays, it stays on the Notice Paper as an order of the day and, in reality, would be called on again only if it is nominated as the item to be designated for debate during another general business opportunity. Only a business of the Senate motion or a matter of privilege retains precedence from day to day and would therefore require a definite intervention to avoid a decision altogether. Even then, the options provided under SO 89 may not be required if SO 67 is used to postpone the matter to a future day. Other options include withdrawing the motion by leave (once it has been moved), or moving a motion on notice to discharge the matter from the Notice Paper. All of these methods are much more common than motions under paragraphs (a), (c) and (d). See Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice, 12th edition, pp.180–81, for discussion of the limitations of these methods.

See SOs 53, 83, 94, 95, 97, 201 and 202 for related matters.