Guidance and Instructions

For public servants

How to table a document out of sitting

Under standing orders 38 and 166, committees, ministers and the Auditor—General may present reports and documents to the President, the Deputy President or a temporary chair of committees when the Senate is not sitting. Reports and documents so presented are authorised for publication. Reports and documents listed here were presented since the Senate last met.

They will be tabled formally when the Senate next meets and recorded in the Journals of the Senate.

For further information, contact:
Documents Officer
Ph: (02) 6277 3037
Senate Table Office

How to provide an answer to a Senate Question on Notice

Under standing order 74, answers to Questions on Notice should be provided within 30 calendar days.

Questions and answers are published together, in a searchable database on the Senate website at

Answers to questions should be submitted via email ( This email, which serves as a covering letter, should contain an assurance that the minister has approved the answer. Answers should be provided as Microsoft Word and PDF documents only, with all attachments incorporated into a single PDF response. Objects unable to be saved as PDF (eg, maps or CDs) which form part of an answer, continue to be forwarded directly to the Senate Table Office, Room SG.25, Attention: Questions Office (2 copies per object).

How to find a document in the tabled papers database

This database provides a search  facility to enable acess to digital images of documents tabled in the Senate. Documents tabled in the Senate from 1901 onward are accessible through the database. Documents at the end of the 43rd Parliament are available online.

For members of the public

How to petition the Senate

Individuals and organisations may seek to have petitions presented to the Parliament. Petitions generally express views on matters of public policy and ask the Parliament to take or, in some cases, not to take a particular course of action.

How to lodge a submission to a committee

The main purpose of parliamentary committees is to carry out investigations and report the findings of those investigations to the Parliament. Each inquiry has terms of reference, which outline the matters to be considered by the committee.

As part of the inquiry process, a committee seeks written submissions addressing the terms of reference.