Research and Education

The Senate is one of the two houses of the Australian Federal Parliament. It consists of 76 senators, twelve from each of the six states and two from each of the mainland territories. It shares the power to make laws with the other House of Parliament, the House of Representatives. The Senate is elected by proportional representation, so that its composition closely reflects the voting pattern of the electors.

Research resources

Bound volumes of Hansard and legislation

Senate Briefs - This series of information sheets gives a basic introduction to the Senate and its work.

Senate StatsNet - Statistics on Senate activities and summaries of legislation and other business conducted by the Senate.

Business of the Senate - A report containing information about activities of the Senate during the calendar year.

Work of Committees - A compilation of statistics relating to committee activities.

About Committees - Research guides about Senate committees.

Records of the Australasian Federal Conventions of the 1890s - Transcripts 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.


Senate publications

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.

Platypus and Parliament: The Australian Senate in Theory and Practice by Stanley Bach - A major study of the history and operations of the Australian Senate.

Can Responsible Government Survive in Australia? by David Hamer - A comparative analysis of the powers and procedures of twenty legislatures in Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate - An authoritative work of reference on the lives and careers of senators of the Australian Parliament.

Annotated Standing Orders of the Australian Senate - This publication provides the text of each standing order, its amendment history, and information about its origin, evolution, rationale and application.

Papers on Parliament - This series includes the texts of Senate Occasional Lectures and other papers on parliamentary and governance issues.

Articles, addresses and other publications by Senate staff - Includes papers prepared for the Parliamentary Studies Centre, Australian National University, and papers by former Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans.


Former Clerk of the Senate speaking to schoolchildren in Parliament House

Parliamentary Education Office- The PEO provides parliamentary education services to schools, teachers and students by teaching how parliament works through experiential learning programs, producing resources and publications and running a comprehensive, interactive website with resources for all ages and levels of knowledge.

Seminars - The Senate provides training for members of the public service including a full-day seminar on the role of the Senate and part-day seminars on topics including Senate committees, the stimates process, getting bills through the Senate, parliamentary privilege and delegated legislation.

Senate Occasional Lecture Series - Public lunchtime lectures on topics relating to Parliament and governance. Admission is free and bookings are not required. Lecture transcripts and audio and television recordings of the lectures are also available.