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House of Representatives Practice (7th edition)

House of Representatives Practice is the comprehensive and authoritative text on the procedure and practice of the House of Representatives. This seventh edition was published in June 2018.

View House of Representatives Practice in HTML and PDF (below).

House of Representatives Practice (PDF 24 MB)



CHAPTER 1—The Parliament and the role of the House (PDF 588 KB)

The Queen
Powers and Functions of the Governor-General
Powers and jurisdiction of the Houses
The courts and Parliament
Constitution alteration
Aspects of the role of the House of Representatives
Independence of the Houses
Functions of the House

CHAPTER 2—House, Government and Opposition (PDF 618 KB)

Government and Parliament
Political parties
The Ministry
Federal Executive Council
The (official) Opposition

CHAPTER 3—Elections and the electoral system (PDF 466 KB)

The first election
The Commonwealth Electoral Act
Number of Members
Electoral divisions
General elections
Senate elections
Method of voting
The election process
Public funding and financial disclosure
Disputed elections and returns

CHAPTER 4—Parliament House and access to proceedings (PDF 439 KB)

The Parliament buildings
The Chamber
Access to proceedings
Parliamentary precincts and the exercise of authority

CHAPTER 5—Members (PDF 497 KB)

The Member's role
The Member and the House in the democratic process
Qualifications and disqualifications
New Members
First speech
Valedictory speech
Pecuniary interest
Members’ remuneration and expenses
Member's titles
Dress and conduct in the Chamber
Service on non-parliamentary organisations

CHAPTER 6—The Speaker, Deputy Speakers and officers (PDF 504 KB)

The Office of Speaker
Election of Speaker
Powers, functions and duties
Absence of Speaker and vacancy in office
The Speaker’s vote
Sources of procedural authority
Speaker’s rulings
Criticism of Speaker’s actions and conduct
Deputy Speaker
Second Deputy Speaker
Speaker’s panel
Staff of the House and administration

CHAPTER 7—The parliamentary calendar (PDF 730 KB)

A Parliament
A Session
The Address in Reply
Sitting and non-sitting periods

CHAPTER 8—Order of business and the sitting day (PDF 902 KB)

Meeting of the House
Acknowledgement of country and Prayers
Order of business
New business rule

CHAPTER 9—Motions (PDF 843 KB)

Definition of a motion
Form and content of motions
Progress of motions in House
Amendments to motions
Motions agreed to—resolutions and orders of the House
Motions of no confidence and censure
Motions of condolence
Motions of thanks
Motion of apology
Motion to discuss matter of special interest
Motions relating to the Standing Orders

CHAPTER 10—Legislation (PDF 1.17 MB)

Constitutional provisions
Bills—the parliamentary process
Procedural variations for different categories of bills
Procedures to speed the passage of bills
Division of a bill
Lapsed bills
Administrative arrangements
Presentation of bills for assent
Delegated legislation

CHAPTER 11—Financial legislation (PDF 451KB)

Constitutional provisions
Former financial procedures
Bills containing special appropriations
Appropriation and supply bills
Taxation bills

CHAPTER 12—Senate amendments and requests (PDF 386 KB)

Procedure following Senate consideration
Senate bills amended by House

CHAPTER 13—Double dissolutions and joint sittings (PDF 411KB)

Section 57 of the Constitution
Double dissolutions
Joint sitting

CHAPTER 14—Control and conduct of debate (PDF 909 KB)

Manner and right of speech
Rules governing content of speeches
Interruptions to Members speaking
Curtailment of speeches and debate
Powers of Chair to enforce order

CHAPTER 15—Questions (PDF 524 KB)

Question Time
Rules governing questions
Questions in writing

CHAPTER 16—Non-government business (PDF 521 KB)

Private Members’ Mondays
Committee and delegation business
Private Members’ business
Grievance debate
Members’ 90 second statements
Constituency statements
Adjournment debate
Matters of public importance

CHAPTER 17—Documents (PDF 691KB)

Documents presented to the House
Orders and resolutions in relation to documents
Distribution and printing of documents
House documents—agenda and record
Parliamentary privilege relating to documents
Public interest immunity

CHAPTER 18—Parliamentary committees (PDF 496KB)

Authority for the appointment of committees
Types of committees and terminology
House standing committees
House select committees
Conferral with committees of the Senate
Joint committees
Appointment and duration
Powers of committees
Meeting procedures
Committee administration—staff and advisers

CHAPTER 19—Committee inquiries (PDF 726 KB)

Referral of matters for inquiry
Documentary evidence
Oral evidence
Publication of evidence

CHAPTER 20—Parliamentary privilege (PDF 780 KB)

Privilege defined
The Commonwealth Parliament’s privilege powers
The privilege of freedom of speech
Other privileges
Acts constituting breaches of privilege and contempts
Penal jurisdiction of the House
Punishment of Members
Manner of dealing with privilege and contempt
Citizen’s right of reply
Limitations and safeguards in the use of privilege

CHAPTER 21—The Federation Chamber (PDF 329 KB)


Appendix 1—Governors-General
Appendix 2—Speakers of the House of Representatives
Appendix 3—Deputy Speakers
Appendix 4—Leaders of the Opposition
Appendix 5—Clerks Of the House of Representatives
Appendix 6—Prime Ministers
Appendix 7—Chronological List of Ministries
Appendix 8—Leaders of the House
Appendix 9—Number of Ministers—Statutory Variations
Appendix 10—Party Affiliations in the House of Representatives
Appendix 11—Electoral Divisions-Number at General Elections
Appendix 12—General Elections—Significant Dates from 19th to 45th Parliaments
Appendix 13—Election Petitions—House of Representatives
Appendix 14—Referendums to Alter the Constitution
Appendix 15—Chronology of Parliaments
Appendix 16—Sittings of the House
Appendix 17—Consideration of Legislation by the House
Appendix 18—Senate Requests for Amendments to Bills
Appendix 19—Bills Reserved for the Sovereign's Assent and Bills returned by the Governor-General with Recommended Amendments
Appendix 20—Statistics on Selected House Proceedings
Appendix 21—Questions
Appendix 22—Proportion of House Time by Category of Business—Recent Parliaments
Appendix 23—Percentage of House Time Spent on Government and Private Members' Business—Recent Years
Appendix 24—Committees of the House of Representatives and Joint Committees
Appendix 25—Matters Raised as Matters of Privilege in the House


Rules for Joint Sittings
Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987
Parliamentary Precincts Act 1988
The Constitution

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House of Representatives Practice - 7th Edition

The House of Representatives Practice is available for purchase online from the Parliament Shop.