41 Casual vacancies - political party

Where the place of a senator who is a member of a particular political party becomes vacant before the expiration of the senator's term of service, in the opinion of the Senate a person chosen to fill the vacant place in accordance with section 15 of the Constitution should be the member of the political party duly nominated by that party to fill that place; ...

(19 March 1987 J.1698)

Note: Part of a longer resolution, dealing with the case of a vacancy in the representation of Tasmania.

42 Casual vacancies - timing of filling

The Senate—

  1. believes that casual vacancies in the Senate should be filled as expeditiously as possible, so that no state is without its full representation in the Senate for any time longer than is necessary;
  2. recognises that under section 15 of the Constitution an appointment to a vacancy in the Senate may be delayed because the Houses of the Parliament of the relevant state are adjourned but have not been prorogued, which, on a strict construction of the section, prevents the Governor of the state making the appointment; and
  3. recommends that all state parliaments adopt procedures whereby their Houses, if they are adjourned when a casual vacancy in the Senate is notified, are recalled to fill the vacancy, and whereby the vacancy is filled:
    1. within 14 days after the notification of the vacancy, or
    2. where under section 15 of the Constitution the vacancy must be filled by a member of a political party, within 14 days after the nomination by that party is received,

    whichever is the later.

(3 June 1992 J.2401, reaffirmed 7 May 1997 J.1864)

42A COVID-19 and the Senate

That the Senate, in the spirit of mutual respect and working with other institutions, agencies and officials managing the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. notes that:
    1. the law of parliamentary privilege is intended to protect the ability of legislative houses, their members and committees, to exercise their authority and perform their duties without undue external interference, and
    2. the powers and immunities that enable and secure the work of the two Commonwealth houses belong to the houses themselves by constitutional design – a design which ensures that the Senate, in particular, can undertake its functions with an appropriate degree of independence;
  2. recognises the statement by the President of Monday, 24 August 2020 regarding the risk of COVID-19 measures constraining the ability of senators to undertake their duties;
  3. affirms the right of the Senate to determine its own meetings, and in particular the sessions for the remainder of 2020 and the scheduled Budget Estimates hearings;
  4. maintains the right of senators to attend parliamentary proceedings whether directly or by remote participation (if available); and
  5. calls on the executives and executive agencies of the Commonwealth, states and territories to have appropriate regard to these matters in devising and implementing public health measures and, wherever possible, to do so in consultation with representatives of the Senate.

(3 September 2020, J.2298)

43 Quorum

The Senate ...

  1. notes that it is the clear responsibility of all senators to maintain the quorum in the Senate.

(4 October 1989 J.2083)

Note: Part of a longer resolution relating to a count-out of the Senate and a motion of censure.

44 Committee reports – government responses

  1. The Senate declares its opinion that, following the presentation of a report from a standing committee or select committee of the Senate which recommends action by the government, the government should, within the ensuing 3 months, table a paper informing the Senate of its observations and intentions with respect to such recommendations.
  2. The Senate resolves that the President communicate this resolution to the government with a request that the foregoing procedure apply, from the date of the passing of this resolution, to reports already presented during the present session and, in respect of future reports, from the date of presentation of a report.
  3. A government response to a committee report under this resolution shall respond to any minority or dissenting report and any matter added to the report by any member or participating member of the committee.

(14 March 1973 J.51, amended 24 August 1994 J.2054)

Note: Government responses to committee reports have since been the subject of undertakings by governments. Undertakings were given on:
26 May 1978 – Senate Debates (Hansard) p. 1932.
24 August 1983 – Senate Debates (Hansard) p. 141.
5 November 1991 – Journals p. 1625.

45 Taxation bills – retrospectivity

Where the government has announced, by press release, its intention to introduce a bill to amend taxation law, and that bill has not been introduced into the Parliament or made available by way of publication of a draft bill within 6 calendar months after the date of that announcement, the Senate shall, subject to any further resolution, amend the bill to provide that the commencement date of the bill shall be a date that is no earlier than either the date of introduction of the bill into the Parliament or the date of publication of the draft bill.

(8 November 1988 J.1104)

Note: Part of a resolution agreed to by way of an amendment to the motion for the second reading of a bill.

46 Division of bills

The committee ... reasserts the principle that the division of any bill by the Senate is a form of amendment of a bill, not different in principle from any other form of amendment, and should be considered as such.

(12 December 2002 J.1363)

Note: Resolution of a committee of the whole, adopted by the Senate on 12 December 2002 following consideration of a message from the House of Representatives relating to the Family and Community Services Legislation Amendment (Australians Working Together and other 2001 Budget Measures) Bill 2002.