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  1. 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.

  2. 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:

  3. What Australian and overseas political parties have home pages?

    A list of political parties which have homepages can be found from the Key Internet links on Political Parties page. Under Political Parties you will find links to parties arranged by country.

  4. What election and referendum information is available?

    Election information on this site is primarily Australian. From the Key Internet links on elections link on the Parliamentary Library's home page various election statistics can be found, such as election dates since 1901, the origins of present electoral names, and a comparison of electoral divisions, by area, and by number of electors.

    The Australian Electoral Commission's website has a wealth of information.

    Information on referendums on alterations to the Constitution of the Commonwealth is also available from the Parliamentary Handbook.

  5. 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.

  6. What is the Cabinet?

    The Cabinet consists of the Prime Minister and senior Ministers, and decides on all major government policy matters.

  7. 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.

  8. What legislation is before the current Parliament?

    For details on legislation, see:

    • Bills Page

    • 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.

  9. What time is Question Time?

    Question Time is held at 2pm in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

  10. When is Parliament sitting

    The sitting calendar shows when Parliament is sitting.

  11. 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.

  12. 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. 

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Which other Parliaments are on the Internet?

    For a list of government sites, consult the Library's Key Internet links on Parliaments resources page.

    The Parliamentary Handbook contains a wealth of current and historical parliamentary information.


    Parliaments of Australian States and Territories

    Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly

    New South Wales Parliament

    Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

    Queensland Parliament

    South Australian Parliament

    Tasmanian Parliament

    Victorian Parliament

    Western Australian Parliament


    Selection of Links to Legislatures

    Islamic State of Afghanistan
    Brazil: Camara Dos Deputados | Senado Federal
    Cambodia: National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia | Senate of the Kingdom of Cambodia
    Canadian Parliament
    People's Republic of China: The National People's Congress
    Cook Island Parliament
    Denmark Folketinget
    Europarl: European Parliament
    Fiji. Parliament
    France: Assemblee Nationale | Senate
    Germany. Deutscher Bundestag
    Indian Parliament
    Indonesia: House of Peoples Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia (DPR) | People's Consultative Assembly of the Republic of Indonesia (MPR)
    Iran. Majlis ye-Shura-ye-Eslami (Islamic Consultative Assembly) Research Centre
    Iraq. Transitional National Assembly. See IPU listing
    Ireland Oireachtas
    Parlamento Italiano
    Japan: House of Councillors | House of Representatives
    Kiribati Parliament
    Lebanese Parliament
    New Zealand: Parliament | New Zealand Parliamentary Business: includes Hansard, parliamentary papers, select committee reports
    Northern Ireland Assembly
    National Parliament of Papua New Guinea
    Nauru Parliament
    Philippines Congress
    Russia: Duma | Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation
    The Scottish Parliament
    Thailand. National Assembly of the Kingdom of Thailand: House of Representatives and Senate
    Tonga Parliament
    United Arab Emirates: Federal National Council
    United Kingdom | House of Lords | House of Commons | Hansard | Hansard Archive 1802-2004
    United States of America: House of Representatives | Senate | Congressional Record | THOMAS | Library of Congress
    Vanuatu Parliament
    Vietnam. National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
    The National Assembly for Wales


    Use one of these directories to find national parliaments not listed above...

    Web Sites of National Parliaments: IPU
    Parline Database: IPU
    Worldlii: Parliaments database
    Parliaments: part of Gunnar Anzinger's Governments on the WWW
    World Parliaments: the Knesset

    Parliamentary Organisations

    Australasian Study of Parliament Group (ASPG): ASPG was formed "to encourage and stimulate research, writing and teaching about parliamentary institutions in Australia and the South Pacific"
    Hansard Society for Parliamentary Government (UK): independent educational charity "promoting effective parliamentary democracy"
    National Association of Parliamentarians: US based association with international membership
    Parliamentarians for Global Action
    Study of Parliament Group (Canada): "a non-profit organization that brings together individuals with an interest in the role, function and reform of parliamentary institutions"
    Study of Parliament Group (UK): "to study the working of Parliament and Parliamentary institutions, and other related aspects of Parliamentary government and political science, and to advance public knowledge of these subjects"
    United States Association of Former Members of Congress

    Inter-Parliamentary Assemblies, Associations, Organisations

    For other links see Useful links on the IPU site

    Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union
    Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF)
    Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)
    Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
    Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)
    NATO Parliamentary Assembly: formerly North Atlantic Assembly
    Norden: Nordic Council and Nordic Council of Ministers
    OSCE Parliamentary Assembly: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
    Assembly of the Western European Union (WEU): the Inter-parliamentary European Security and Defence Assembly

  19. Who do I contact about art works in Parliament House?

  20. Who is my local Member?

    If you know the name of the federal electoral division in which you live, refer to the List of Members by electoral division.

    If you do not know the name of the electoral division in which you live the Australian Electoral Commission should be able to help. It is responsible for providing electoral information and can be contacted for information on divisional boundaries. A map of Australian electoral divisions is available online from the AEC site.

    Biographical information on each Member is also available on the Members' Home Pages.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.