The Senate returned from 6 to 8 October for the budget sittings. Budget documents were tabled in the House of Representatives on 6 October, after which they were tabled in the Senate. Responses to the budget were given on 8 October.
Related to the budget is the passage of the Appropriation Bills, which will be introduced in the Senate once they have passed the House of Representatives. Rather than defer examination until the bills are received from the House, the Senate refers to its committees documents called 'Particulars of Certain Proposed Expenditure' which reproduce the details contained in the bills. The eight legislation committees are holding public hearings between 19 and 30 October at which they are able to question Senate ministers and officers of the public service directly. Their findings are reported back to the Senate.
This process enables committees to complete much of the work of considering the bills prior to them being received from the House of Representatives.
For more information, see:
Committees have long been using video conferencing to conduct hearings and speak to witnesses who are unable to attend in person. Nevertheless, the scale of video linkups in place during these hearings is an historical moment for Senate estimates.
Coming up in the Senate
The Senate next meets from 9 to 12 November 2020.
Senator Lidia Thorpe was sworn in as a senator for Victoria following the resignation of former Senator Di Natale.
Senator Cormann delivered his valedictory statement on 9 October.
There are currently over 100 Senate and Joint Committee inquiries underway, many of which are still accepting submissions. A number of public hearings are scheduled to take place, and a range of reports are due to be tabled in coming months. Each committee has a "track committee" or "track inquiry" option that will enable you to receive updates on relevant activities.
The Senate Occasional Lecture series will return in 2021.