Standing orders

Section 50 of the Constitution empowers the Senate to make rules and orders with respect to how its powers, privileges, and immunities may be exercised and upheld, and the order and conduct of its business and proceedings.

Procedural orders and resolutions of the Senate of continuing effect

The following procedural orders and resolutions of the Senate are those which were clearly intended to be of continuing effect, and are significant in that they relate to the manner in which the Senate conducts its legislative and inquiry functions and exercises and upholds its constitutional powers.

The text of each order and resolution is followed by the date on which it was passed, the page number in the Journals of the Senate at which it appears and any necessary explanatory note.

The orders and resolutions have been grouped into 2 sections – procedural orders affecting the procedures of the Senate and resolutions expressing opinions of the Senate. Those orders and resolutions relating to similar subjects have been placed together.

The orders in this section were agreed to by the Senate up to 30 June 2015. Any orders agreed to by the Senate after that date, or any sessional or temporary orders that operate for a limited period, may be found in the Notice Paper under "Orders of the Senate".

Procedural orders of continuing effect


  1. Circulation of requests


  1. Disclosure of minority or dissenting reports
  2. Unauthorised disclosure of committee proceedings, documents or evidence
  3. Unauthorised disclosure of committee proceedings
  4. Joint committee documents – disclosure
  5. Witnesses' expenses
  6. Reference of Tax Expenditures Statement to committees considering estimates
  7. Cross portfolio estimates hearing on Indigenous matters
  8. Fair Work Australia – consideration of estimates
  9. Estimates hearings—Additional hearings on Fridays
  10. Estimates hearings—Additional hearings generally


  1. Public interest immunity claims
  2. Senate and Senate committees – claims of commercial confidentiality

Orders for documents

  1. Indexed lists of departmental and agency files
  2. Entity contracts
  3. Agency advertising and public information projects
  4. Departmental and agency appointments and vacancies
  5. Departmental and agency grants
  6. Family and Community Services – Housing Assistance agreements
  7. Shipping Grants Legislation Bill 1996
  8. Health – Assessment reports by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  9. Defence – Review of materiel acquisition projects – Report by the Auditor-General
  10. Trade – Free trade agreements
  11. Estimates hearings – Unanswered questions on notice 
  12. Former ministers – Meetings
  13. Report on outstanding orders for documents


  1. Disallowed questions

Parliamentary secretaries

  1. Powers

Senate chamber

  1. Australian flag
  2. Seating
  3. Media representatives and advisers – dress code
  4. Photographs
  5. Storage of Senate documents 


  1. Indigenous Australians – Closing the Gap – report Parliamentary consideration

Resolutions expressing opinions of the Senate

Parliamentary appropriations and administration

  1. Parliamentary appropriations
  2. Parliamentary departments – structure and responsibilities
  3. Administration of parliamentary security
  4. Security funding

Appropriations – ordinary annual services of the government

  1. Appropriations – ordinary annual services of the government


  1. Witnesses – powers of the Senate
  2. Detention of senators
  3. Interference with witnesses
  4. Meetings after dissolution of House of Representatives

Opening of Parliament and meetings with House of Representatives

  1. Opening of Parliament – 'Welcome to Country' ceremony
  2. Joint meetings to receive addresses by foreign heads of state


  1. Casual vacancies
  2. Taxation bills – retrospectivity
  3. Quorum
  4. Committee reports – government responses
  5. Division of bills


  1. Statutory bodies etc.
  2. Public funds
  3. Public funds – duties of officers
  4. Inquiry powers and Freedom of Information Act provisions
  5. Australian Broadcasting Corporation – obligation to cooperate
  6. Training – accountability and privilege


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics surveys
  2. Voluntary voting