House of Representatives Committees

House Standing Committee on Procedure
Committee activities (inquiries and reports)

Maintenance of the standing and sessional orders

First report

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March 2006

© Commonwealth of Australia 2006
ISBN 0 642 78765 4
ISBN 0 642 78768 9 (HTML version)


Membership of the Committee
Terms of reference
List of recommendations
Chapter 1 Debate on the election of Speaker
Chapter 2 Presentation of explanatory memorandums
Appendix Extract from Legislative Handbook


On 9 February 2006 the Standing Committee on Procedure resolved to adopt the wide ranging reference ‘The maintenance of the standing and sessional orders’. This is intended to be an ongoing inquiry, under which the committee will report from time to time on specific matters. The inquiry will encompass all sessional orders which the House has adopted for a trial period; and also proposals for minor adjustments to the standing orders which arise from time to time. Any more substantial matter will be subject to separate inquiry and report.

Over the course of each Parliament the committee’s attention is drawn to various, often relatively minor, procedural issues arising from proceedings in the House. This ongoing inquiry provides a formal mechanism for the committee to consider these issues. This is the first report on such matters. The subjects—’Debate on the election of Speaker’ and ‘Presentation of explanatory memorandums’— both arose from events in the House which caused the committee to reflect on the related standing orders.

On 9 February 2006 the House agreed to several sessional orders which are effective until the end of 2006. These cover arrangements for debate of committee and delegation reports in the Main Committee (as recommended by the committee’s report on this matter in November); the duration of Members’ statements in the Main Committee; debate times for dissent motions; and provisions relating to the maintenance of order in the Main Committee, Later in the year the committee will report on its review of the operation of these sessional orders.


Margaret May MP



Membership of the Committee


Mrs Margaret May MP

Deputy Chair

Mr Daryl Melham MP


Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP


Mrs Trish Draper MP


Ms Kelly Hoare MP


Mr Luke Hartsuyker MP


Hon Roger Price MP

Committee Secretariat


Ms Judy Middlebrook

Research Officer

Mr Peter Fowler

Administrative Officer

Mr Shane Armstrong

Terms of Reference

Terms of reference of the Committee

To inquire into and report on the practices and procedures of the House and its committees.

Terms of reference of the inquiry

Maintenance of the Standing and Sessional Orders.

List of recommendations

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that standing order 11 be amended to permit movers and seconders to speak in support of their nominated candidate for Speaker in all cases, even when there is only one nominee.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that standing order 11 be amended to improve clarity in relation to the use of the word ‘question’.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends that standing orders 141 and 142 be amended to provide that the Explanatory Memorandum to a bill is presented when the bill is presented, rather than at the conclusion of the Minister’s second reading speech.

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