Chapter 16 - Previous question

95    Determination of previous question

  1. If the Senate resolves the previous question in the affirmative, thereby resolving that the original question be not now put, the original question and any amendment before the Senate are thereby disposed of, and the Senate shall proceed to the next business.
  2. If the Senate resolves the previous question in the negative, thereby resolving that the original question before the Senate be now put, the question and any amendment shall be put forthwith, without debate.
  3. When the previous question is moved on any question consisting of a series of motions which are under discussion as one motion, with the understanding that the questions be put on the motions separately, the decision of the previous question, before the question on the first of the motions is put, shall be taken to be conclusive in respect of all of the motions.

Amendment history

Adopted: 19 August 1903 as SOs 146, 147 and 149 (corresponding to paragraphs (1) to (3))

1989 revision: Old SOs 153, 154 and 156 combined into one, structured as three paragraphs and renumbered as SO 95; language simplified


Standing order 95 deals with the effect of the previous question. Whichever way the vote goes, debate is brought to an end by the previous question. If it is agreed to, the question is not now put and the Senate moves onto the next business. If it is resolved in the negative, the effect is that the question is put immediately without further debate, thus defeating the purpose of avoiding a vote on the substantive question and denying senators a further opportunity to explain their positions.

See SOs 89 and 94.