What are the sitting times of the House?
The regular sitting times of the House of Representatives are set out in its standing orders. These provide for it to meet at the following times: Mondays - from 12:30pm to 9:30pm Tuesdays - from 2pm to 9:30pm Wednesdays - from 9:00am to 8pm. Thursdays - from 9:00am to 5pm. Occasionally circumstances require some change to these times.
What are the standing and sessional orders?
The standing orders are the continuing rules of procedure adopted by the House; the sessional orders are temporary rules which, in most cases, expire at the end of a session - usually when the House is dissolved for a general election. The current version available:
What Australian and overseas political parties have home pages?
What election and referendum information is available?
What is a quorum?
A quorum is the minimum number of Members required to be present in the House to constitute a meeting of the House. It is set by law to be one-fifth of the total membership. With 150 Members, this makes a quorum of thirty, including the occupant of the Chair.
The House may, and often does, operate with fewer than 30 Members present. Because of the demands placed on Members it is necessary that they spend a large amount of time on other duties outside the Chamber.
At any time during a sitting any Member may draw the lack of a quorum (the state of the House) to the Chair's attention, and a count must be made. If a quorum is not present, the bells are rung until enough Members are present to form a quorum. If, after 4 minutes, a quorum still isn't present, the Chair may adjourn the House until the next sitting day, or suspend the sitting for a short period, in which case, if there is not a quorum when the Chair resumes, the House is adjourned to another day.
What is the Cabinet?
The Cabinet consists of the Prime Minister and senior Ministers, and decides on all major government policy matters.
What is the House doing?
The routine of business description shows the categories of business the House of Representatives and the Main Committee normally deal with on each day of a sitting week.
The Notice Paper is the House's formal agenda and lists in order of priority all of the government business, private Members' business and business before the Main Committee awaiting the House's consideration. The Notice Paper also includes details of the questions lodged by Members for written answers by Ministers and the membership of, and inquiries currently being conducted by, the House of Representatives and joint committees.
The Daily Program provides in more detail the proposed business of the House of Representatives for a particular sitting.
What legislation is before the current Parliament?
For details on legislation, see:
Bills Digests produced by the Parliamentary Library. This is a brief, plain-language digest of the Bill produced as soon as possible after its introduction, which generally includes sections on the purpose, background and main provisions of the Bill.
What time is Question Time?
Question Time is held at 2pm in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
When is Parliament sitting
When is the House sitting?
A schedule (or calendar) of proposed parliamentary sittings is published in advance of the sittings.
The actual sittings of the House of Representatives adhere very closely to the schedule. Occasionally circumstances require some departure from it. Nevertheless, the schedule is a very useful guide to the sittings.
Where can I find information about Inter-Parliamentary Relations?
About the International and Parliamentary Relations Office
The Australian Parliament’s international program includes parliamentary visits, development programs and participation in international parliamentary associations. The program is coordinated by the International and Parliamentary Relations Office (incoming and outgoing parliamentary delegations and membership of parliamentary associations) and the Parliamentary Skills Centre (parliamentary strengthening programs).
The IPRO's objective is to support external relations for the Parliament with a view to achieving productive and amicable international and regional relationships with other parliaments and parliamentary bodies and organisations.
Where can I find information about Inter-Parliamentary Relations?
The International and Community Relations Office (ICRO) provides advice and support relevant to the conduct of the Parliament's international and regional affairs. It provides general support for inter-parliamentary conferences and incoming and outgoing parliamentary delegations; training support for other parliaments, particularly the smaller parliaments in our region; and advice to the Presiding Officers and members on international parliamentary matters.
The ICRO's objective is to support external relations for the Parliament with a view to achieving productive and amicable international and regional relationships with other parliaments and parliamentary bodies and organisations.
Where can I find information on government departments and agencies?
The Parliament's site contains information pertaining to the Parliament.
For contact information and links to commonwealth government departments and agencies see the Australian Government Directory.
Where can I find more information about the House of Representatives and the Parliament?
You can refer to our list of Infosheets and to House of Representatives Practice. The site map for the Parliament site provides a general guide to information on the website. The site's search engine may be more useful for locating specific items of information.
The Department of the House of Representatives conducts seminars and workshops on the operations of the House which are open to anyone on payment of a fee.
Where can I get a copy of legislation?
The text of most bills before the Parliament is available at Bills and Legislation page. Explanatory memoranda and amendments proposed in connection with the bills are also available at this site. Acts of the Commonwealth Parliament (bills after they have been passed by both Houses and become law) can be found at the Australian Government's ComLaw page.
Where can I look at a copy of the Constitution?
The text of the Australian Constitution is available in HTML and PDF format. A summary of issues covered and other information about the Constitution is available in Infosheet 13.
Which other Parliaments are on the Internet?
Who is my local Member?
Who is the Clerk and what does he or she do?
The Clerk of the House of Representatives is responsible for advising the Speaker and Members on parliamentary procedure. The Clerk's position in the Chamber is seated at the Table, in front of the Speaker. He or she is assisted in the Chamber by the Deputy Clerk, who sits at the Table to the left of the Clerk.
The Clerk is appointed by the Governor-General, on the recommendation of the Speaker, and serves all Members of the House equally. He or she administers the Department of the House of Representatives, which provides support services to the House, its committees and Members.
Why is the House of Representatives Chamber green?
Green is the colour traditionally used by the British House of Commons, and the Australian House of Representatives followed that tradition when the old Parliament House was being built and furnished in 1926-7. The shades of green selected in the present Chamber represent the grey-green tones of native eucalypts.