Chapter 19 - Roll Call

109  Senators not present

A senator reported as absent after a roll call may, on motion without notice, be excused from attendance or be ordered to attend at a future time.

Amendment history

Adopted: 19 August 1903 as SO 279 (part) and 280 but renumbered as SO 275 and SO 276 for the first printed edition

1989 revision: Old SOs 287 (part) and 288 combined into one and renumbered as SO 109; language simplified


During the debate in 1903, Senator Playford (Prot, SA) asked whether the standing orders relating to a call of the Senate should include a provision for “fining, or in some other way punishing a senator who does not attend after receiving due notice”. He expressed the view that it was “farcical” not to have any “punishment” and that “if there is no penalty the standing order is useless”.[1] The matter was not taken up by other senators and the standing order was adopted without any penalties being included.

The Senate could impose a penalty upon a senator who does not answer the summons to a roll call but, in practice, senators who are absent for any legitimate reason are excused from attendance.[2] Examples of legitimate reasons have included illness and absence overseas on parliamentary or government business.