Prayers and acknowledgement of country
Tabling of documents required to be presented by Acts of Parliament (legislative instruments: eg regulations, determinations, rules, orders)
See also Guide to Senate Procedure Nos 10 - Tabling of documents and 11 - Opportunities for debating documents and reports
Committees - proposals to meet
Under standing order 33, a committee requires leave of the Senate to meet during sitting. Proposals to meet are listed on the Red and unless objected to are deemed to be approved.
Government business only
Debate on motions moved by ministers - principally government bills.
See also Guide to Senate Procedure No. 16 - Consideration of legislation
Presentation of petitions is announced by the Clerk
See also Guide to Senate Procedure No. 7 - Petitions
Notices of motion given
All decisions of the Senate begin as motions moved by senators. The first step is usually for a senator to give notice of his or her intention to move a motion.
Placing of business
Consideration of a notice of motion may be postponed and business items may be rearranged. Routine committee matters and leave of absence for senators are also dealt with here.
Motions are voted on without debate
See also Guide to Senate Procedure Nos 4 - Categories of business and 8 - Notices of motion
Letters to the President proposing changes to committee membership are reported and the relevant motion is moved by a minister.
See also Guide to Senate Procedure No. 14 - Committee membership
Principally from the House of Representatives relating to bills or joint committee matters.
See also Guide to Senate Procedure No. 18 - Communication between the Houses - dealing with messages
Business of the Senate (if any)
Presentation of reports and debate on motions. Business is considered in the following order:
- Matters of Privilege (if any) - proposals to refer matters to the Privileges Committee. An item will only fall into this category if the President has determined that the matter should have special priority under standing order 81
- Business of the Senate (if any) - includes disallowance motions, motions to refer matters to standing committees, presentation of committee reports (reports presented at this point are generally not available for debate)
- Government business - business initiated by a minister (principally government bills)
See also Guide to Senate Procedure No. 4 - Categories of business
Consideration of non-controversial government bills
Time limit - approximately an hour
Motions to take note of answers
Opportunity to debate answers given during question time. Time limit - 30 minutes; 5 minute speeches
See also Guide to Senate Procedure No. 16 - Questions
Reports and documents
- Tabling and consideration of committee reports
Presenting and debating committee reports (other than those presented in response to a recommendation of the Selection of Bills Committee which are generally not available for debate) and government responses to committee reports.
- Consideration of government documents
Debate on government documents, eg annual reports. Time limit - 5 minute speeches
- Consideration of committee reports; government responses and Auditor-General's reports
Any unresolved debates on committee reports and government responses are returned to at this time on a Thursday.
Auditor-General's reports are listed on the Notice Paper after committee reports and government responses to be dealt with in any remaining time available.
See also Guides to Senate Procedure Nos 10 - Tabling of documents, 11 - Opportunities for debating documents and reports and 18 - Communication between the Houses - dealing with messages
A ministerial statement is used to inform the Senate of policy or other issues relating to the minister's portfolio. Statements may be given, or simply tabled.
See also Guide to Senate Procedure Nos 10 - Tabling of documents and 11 - Opportunitues for debating documents and reports
General business debate
Debate on motions or bills from private senators.
The motion "That the Senate do now adjourn" is moved and may be debated. Senators may address any topic they choose. Time limit - 30 minutes