News and Events

Senate next meets

24 to 27 February 2020

Next Senate estimates

2 to 6 March 2020


The Senate commenced its 2020 sittings on Tuesday, 4 February. In the first two weeks of sitting the Senate sat for 64 hours and 26 minutes over 7 days. The average length of a sitting day was 9 hours and 12 minutes. 38 divisions were held, 213 questions without notice were asked and 2 petitions with a total of 1534 signatures were presented. 31 bills were introduced and 10 were passed. Visit the Senate StatsNet for more facts and figures about the work of the Senate.

Sittings will resume on 24 February 2020.


On 20 January 2020, Senator Cory Bernardi resigned as a senator for South Australia, creating a casual vacancy in that state's representation. The Constitution requires the state parliament to choose a new senator to fill that vacancy.

The South Australian Parliament met on 6 February and selected Andrew McLachlan to fill the casual vacancy. Senator McLachlan was sworn in on 10 February.

See Senate Brief No. 1 for more information on casual vacancies.

Spotlight on committees - additional estimates

Estimates of government expenditure are referred to Senate committees as part of the annual budget cycle. This opportunity to examine the operations of government plays a key role in the parliamentary scrutiny of the executive. Senate committees will meet to consider additional estimates from 2 to 6 March 2020.


On 16 September 2019, the Senate agreed to the address-in-reply, which is the formal acknowledgement to the Governor-General of the speech given at the opening of Parliament. The Senate adjourned at 4.30pm on 19 September to enable senators to attend the presentation at Government House.


The next lecture, titled "The art of democracy—the power of the national art collection to nurture identity", will be presented by Nick Mitzevich, Director of the National Gallery of Australia, on Friday, 6 March 2020.

Page last updated 17 February 2020