Senate Routine of Business

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Senate Routine of Business as set out in standing order 57 and related orders

Incorporates changes up to 24 June 2021

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday

10 am

  • Prayers and acknowledgement of country
  • Documents presented
  • Committees—proposals to meet SO 33(5)
  • Private senators' bills

12.20 pm

  • Government business only

1.30pm

2 pm

  • Questions
  • Motions to take note of answers 30 mins
  • Petitions
  • Notices of motion
  • Placing of business
  • Formal business
  • MPI or urgency motion
    SO 751 hr
  • Consideration of documents tabled earlier in the day
    SO 6130 mins
  • Ministerial statements
  • Committee memberships
  • Messages
  • Business of the Senate (if any)
  • Government business

9.50 pm

  • Adjournment proposed
    40 mins

10.30 pm

  • Adjournment

12 pm

  • Prayers and acknowledgement of country
  • Documents presented
  • Committees—proposals to meet SO 33(5)
  • Government business only

1.30 pm

2 pm

  • Questions
  • Motions to take note of answers 30 mins
  • Petitions
  • Notices of motion
  • Placing of business
  • Formal business
  • MPI or urgency motion
    SO 751 hr
  • Consideration of documents tabled earlier in the day
    SO 6130 mins
  • Tabling and consideration of committee reports
    SO 62(4)1 hr
  • Ministerial statements
  • Committee memberships
  • Messages
  • Business of the Senate (if any)
  • Government business

7.20 pm

  • Adjournment proposed
    No time limit
  • Adjournment

9.30 am

  • Prayers and acknowledgement of country
  • Documents presented
  • Committees—proposals to meet SO 33(5)
  • Government business only

12.15 pm

1.30 pm

2 pm

  • Questions
  • Motions to take note of answers—30 mins
  • Petitions
  • Notices of motion
  • Placing of business
  • Formal business
  • MPI or urgency motion
    SO 751 hr
  • Consideration of documents tabled earlier in the day
    SO 6130 mins
  • Tabling and consideration of committee reports
    SO 62(4)1 hr
  • Ministerial statements
  • Committee memberships
  • Messages
  • Business of the Senate (if any)
  • Government business

7.20 pm

  • Adjournment proposed
    40 mins

8 pm

  • Adjournment

9.30 am

  • Prayers and acknowledgement of country
  • Clerk's documents presented
  • Committees—proposals to meet SO 33(5)
  • Government business only

11.15 am

  • Petitions
  • Notices of motion
  • Placing of business
  • Formal business
  • Committee memberships
  • Messages
  • Business of the Senate (if any)
  • Government business

12.15 pm

  • Non-controversial government business only

1.30 pm

2 pm

  • Questions
  • Motions to take note of answers—30 mins
  • Reports and documents
    • Tabling and consideration of committee reports
    • Consideration of documents
    • Consideration of committee reports, government responses and Auditor-General's reports
      SO 61(3), 62(1)—1 hr
  • Ministerial statements
  • General business debate 

5.30 pm

  • Adjournment proposed
    30 mins

6 pm

  • Adjournment

Times of meetings

Monday 10 am to 10.30 pm,

Tuesday 12 pm to adjournment

Wednesday 9.30 am to 8 pm

Thursday 9.30 am to 6 pm

Lodgement times

Documents

To be received by the Sub-Table Office no later than 5 pm of the working day before the document is to be tabled.

Notices of motion

(Guide No. 8 – Notices of Motion ◊)

Signed notices may be lodged with the Sub-Table Office, or the Clerk at the table, by 3.15 pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and by 11.30 am on Thursday.

Notifications authorising committees to meet during the sitting of the Senate

The form, signed by the chair of the committee, is to be lodged with the Sub-Table Office by 5 pm.

Extensions of time for a committee to report

The form, signed by the chair of the committee, is to be lodged with the Sub-Table Office by 5 pm.

Petitions

(Guide No. 7 – Petitions ◊)

Must be lodged with the Table Office by:

  • 9 am on a day on which the Senate sits at 12 pm; and
  • 5 pm of the working day prior to the Senate sitting at 9.30 am or 10 am.

Questions on notice

(Guide No. 6 – Questions ◊)

Must be lodged with the Table Office no later than 5 pm on sitting days, and in non-sitting weeks by 2 pm on the Wednesday before the next day of sitting, to be registered in the next Notice Paper.

Debating opportunities and time limits

(Guide No. 2 – Rules of debate ◊)

Adjournment

Monday 10 mins SO 54(5)
Tuesday 5 min | 10 mins SO 54(5) & (6)
Wednesday 5 mins SO 54(5)
Thursday 5 min | 10 mins  SO 54(5) & (7)
Limit for debate: 40 mins on Monday and Wednesday, no limit on Tuesday, 30 mins on Thursday

Bills

(Guide No. 16 – Consideration of legislation ◊)

1° of non-amendable bill 15 mins SO 112(2)
15 mins SO 189(1)
In committee
10 mins
SO 189(3)
15 mins SO 189(1)
Selection of Bills Committee—adoption of report 5 mins SO 24A(7)
Limit for debate: 30 mins
Reference of a bill to a committee 5 mins SO 115(6)
Limit for debate: 30 mins

Reports and documents

(Guide No. 11 – Opportunities for debating documents and reports ◊)

Committee reports and government responses

Motion to take note (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) 10 mins SO 62(4)
Limit for debate: 1 hr on Tuesday and Wednesday; Thursday*
Resumption, including Auditor-General's reports (Thursday) 5 mins SO 62(1) & (2)
Limit for debate*
Motion moved by leave 10 mins SO 169(2)
Limit for debate: 30 mins per motion, 1 hr for all motions

Documents

Motion to take note (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) 5 mins SO 61(3)
Limit for debate: 30 mins
Resumption (Thursday) 5 mins SO 61(3)
Limit for debate*
Motion moved by leave 5 mins SO 169(2)
Limit for debate: 15 mins per motion, 30 mins for all motions
*1hr combined debate on Thursday

Debate

General
15 mins
SO 189(1)
In committee
10 mins
SO 189(3)
In reply 15 mins SO 189(2)

Matters of Public Importance and urgency

(Guide No. 9 – Matters of public importance and urgency ◊)

All speakers 10 mins SO 75(7)
Limit for debate: 1 hr, or 1 hr 30 mins if no motions are moved after question time to take note of answers

Ministerial statements 

Motion to take note 10 mins SO 169
Limit for debate: 30 mins per motion, 1 hr for all motions

Questions

(Guide No. 6 – Questions ◊)

Without notice

Primary question 1 min SO 72(3)
Answering question 2 mins SO 72(3)
Supplementary questions (2) 30 sec SO 72(3)
Answering supplementary 1 min SO 72(3)
Debate on motions relating to answers 5 mins SO 72(4)
Limit for debate: 30 mins

Senators' statements

Each day between 1.30pm and 2 pm 2 mins SO 57(4)
Wednesday between 12.15 pm and 1.30 pm 10 mins SO 57(2)

Suspension of standing orders

5 mins SO 209(4)
(Guide No. 5 – Suspension of standing orders ◊) Limit for debate: 30 mins

Senate numbers

Quorum: 19 (25%)
Absolute majority: 39 (50%+1)


SO Standing orders
 Guides to Senate Procedure: www.aph.gov.au/Senate/guides