News and Events

Senate next meets

4 to 13 February 2020

Next Senate estimates

2 to 6 March 2020

Next Senate lecture

To be confirmed

Spotlight on committees

Committees were very busy during the final sitting weeks of 2019 with 26 new inquiries being established on a wide range of matters, including a large number of bills. This figure also includes three new select committees which have been established to inquire into temporary migration; foreign interference through social media; and autism.

Information on other committee inquiries is available from the current inquiries page.

Several reports were presented during November and December, including an interim report by the Environment and Communications References Committee into Australia's faunal extinction crisis, and the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee's report into the feasibility of a National Horse Traceability Register for all horses. The Select Committee into Jobs for the Future in Regional Areas presented its report on 4 December 2019. As select committees are established to inquire into and report on particularly matters, the committee ceased to exist when the report was presented.

For a full list of report presented, see the recent reports pages for Senate and joint committees.


The Senate concluded its 2019 sittings on Thursday, 5 December. During 2019 the Senate sat for 381 hours and 56 minutes over 40 days. The average length of a sitting day was 9 hours and 32 minutes. 350 divisions were held, 1340 questions without notice were asked and 8 petitions with a total of 40,809 signatures were presented. 173 bills were introduced, 88 were referred to committees, and 125 were passed. Visit the Senate StatsNet for more facts and figures about the work of the Senate.

Sittings will resume on 4 February 2020.


Senator Molan, who was selected by the New South Wales Parliament to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Fifield, was sworn in as a senator on 25 November 2019.

Senator Bernardi, who has announced his intention to retire, gave his valedictory statement in the Senate on 4 December 2019.

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


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 most recent lecture, titled "First Nations languages in Parliament", was presented by Dr Raymond Kelly on Friday, 18 October 2019. Details of the next lecture will be advised when available.

Page last updated 16 December 2019