Save Search

Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Chapter summaries - House of Representatives Practice 6th Edition



Download WordDownload Word


Download PDFDownload PDF

Chapter summaries

1    The Parliament and the role of the House  1

Composition 1

The Queen 1

Governor-General 1

Appointment 2

Historical 2

Administrator and Deputies 3

Official Secretary 4

Powers and functions of the Governor-General 4

Prerogative powers 4

Dissolution 6

New Government commissioned without dissolution 10

Advice to dissolve not accepted 10

No advice to dissolve 11

Functions in relation to the Parliament 12

Functions in relation to the Executive Government 13

Functions in relation to the Judiciary 14

Powers and jurisdiction of the Houses 15

Non-legislative powers 15

Section 49 15

Section 50 16

Legislative power 16

The courts and Parliament 18

Constitutional provisions 18

Removal of justices from office 20

Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry 20

The meaning of ‘misbehaviour’ and ‘incapacity’ 20

Parliamentary Commission to investigate misbehaviour or incapacity 22

The courts as a check on the power of Parliament 22

Jurisdiction of the courts in matters of privilege 24

The right of Parliament to the service of its Members in priority 

to the claims of the courts 25

Attendance of parliamentary employees in court or their arrest 26

Parliament and the courts—other matters 26

1  The Parliament and the role of the House continued

Constitution alteration 26

Constitution alteration bills passed by one House only 27

Constitution alteration bills not submitted to referendum 28

Referendum 29

Distribution to electors of arguments for and against proposed  

constitutional alterations 30

Dispute over validity of referendum 30

Referendum results 30

Referendums for other purposes 32

Review of the Constitution 32

Aspects of the role of the House of Representatives 34

Independence of the Houses 36

Functions of the House 37

The Government—making and unmaking 37

The initiation and consideration of legislation 38

Seeking information on and clarification of government policy 39

Surveillance, appraisal and criticism of government administration 39

Consideration of financial proposals and examination of public accounts 39

Inquiry by committee 40

Ventilation of grievances and matters of interest or concern 40

Receiving petitions 40

Examination of delegated legislation 41

Prerequisites for fulfilling functions 41

2    House, Government and Opposition  43

Government and Parliament 43

Relationships 43

A note on separation of powers and checks and balances 44

The Government and House proceedings 45

The Constitution and Executive Government 46

Constitutional conventions 48

Aspects of ministerial responsibility 49

Collective Cabinet responsibility 49

Individual ministerial responsibility 50

Political parties 52

Leaders and office holders 53

Party whips 55

Party committees and meetings 56

Parties and their effect on the House 57

The Ministry 58

Number of Ministers 58

Composition of the Ministry 58

The two-level Ministry 59

Coalition Ministries 59

Interim Ministries 60

Caretaker conventions 60

The Ministry and the Senate 60

Prime Minister 61

Treasurer 63

Attorney-General 64

Leader of the House 65

Cessation of ministerial office 66

Resignation 66

Dismissal 68

Leave of absence 69

Ministerial assistance 70

Parliamentary Secretaries 70

Ministerial salaries 72

Office of profit 72

Personal or pecuniary interest and related matters 73

Declarations of interests 73

Standards of ministerial ethics 73

Code of conduct for ministerial staff 74

Register and code of conduct for lobbyists 74

Cabinet 74

Select Cabinets 75

Federal Executive Council 76

The (official) Opposition 78

Composition 78

Leader of the Opposition 79

Shadow Ministry 80

Role of the Opposition 81

3    Elections and the electoral system  83

The first election 83

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 83

Review of electoral arrangements 84

Electors 84

3  Elections and the electoral system continued

Number of Members 85

Territorial representation 86

The growth of the House 87

Electoral divisions 87

Determination of divisions 87

Redistribution 89

Parliamentary procedure 90

Limited redistribution 91

Improper influence 91

General elections 91

By-elections 92

Senate elections 94

Method of voting 95

Preferential voting 95

Senate voting 95

The election process 96

Issue of writs 97

Close of electoral rolls 97

Nomination of candidates 97

Electoral offences 99

Polling day 99

Scrutineers 99

Counting 99

Recount 99

Declaration of the poll 100

Return of writs 100

Meeting of a new Parliament 100

Public funding and financial disclosure 101

Pending legislation 101

Public funding for elections 101

Financial disclosure 101

Disclosure threshold 102

Unlawful gifts and loans 102

Offences 102

Disputed elections and returns 103

4    Parliament House and access to proceedings  105

The Parliament buildings 105

Meetings in Melbourne and provisional Parliament House in Canberra 105

The permanent Parliament House 106

The layout of the building 106

The Chamber 107

The Mace 109

Seating 110

Bar of the House 111

Galleries 112

The Federation Chamber 113

Strangers and visitors 113

Strangers ordered to withdraw 114

Wartime private meetings 114

Senators 114

Distinguished visitors invited to the floor of the House 115

Access to proceedings 116

Relations with the media 117

Broadcasting of proceedings 118

Radio broadcasts 118

Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings 118

Televising 119

Legal aspects 120

Photographs and films of proceedings 120

Televising, recording and photographs of committee proceedings 121

Photography, filming, etc inside Parliament House 121

Promoting community awareness 123

Internet access to the House 123

Parliamentary Education Office 124

Parliamentary precincts and the exercise of  

authority 124

The parliamentary precincts 124

The parliamentary zone 125

The security of the parliamentary precincts 126

Entry to Parliament House and galleries 127

Disorder and disturbances 127

Application of the law in Parliament House 128

Powers of police in Parliament 129

Demonstrations 130

5    Members  131

The Member’s role 131

Parliamentary 131

Constituency 132

Party 132

The Member and the House in the democratic process 133

5  Members continued

Qualifications and disqualifications 134

Constitutional provisions 134

Electoral Act provisions 135

Challenges to membership 135

Section 44(i) of the Constitution 135

Section 44(iv) of the Constitution 136

Section 44(v) of the Constitution 137

Section 45(ii) of the Constitution 138

Section 163 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 139

Swearing-in 139

New Members 141

First speech 141

Pecuniary interest 142

Personal interest in committee inquiry 144

Professional advocacy 145

Lobbying for reward or consideration 146

Registration—Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests 146

Proposed code of conduct 148

Members’ remuneration and entitlements 150

Review of Parliamentary Entitlements 150

Salaries 150

Electorate allowance and other entitlements 151

Superannuation benefits 152

Attendance 153

Leave of absence 153

Vacancy 154

Resignation 154

Absence without leave 155

Ineligibility 155

Penalty for sitting while ineligible 156

Consequences of Member sitting while ineligible 156

Death 156

Expulsion 157

Titles accorded to Members 157

MP (Member of Parliament) 157

Honourable 158

Academic and other titles 158

Longest serving Member 158

Dress and conduct in the Chamber 159

Service on non-parliamentary organisations 160

6    The Speaker, Deputy Speakers and officers  161

The Office of Speaker 161

Origins 161

The Speaker today 162

Impartiality of the Chair 163

Period in office 165

Party 165

Election of Speaker 166

Powers, functions and duties 170

Constitutional 170

Ceremonial and traditional 171

Statutory 173

Procedural 173

Powers and functions under the standing orders 174

Discretionary powers 174

Participation in debate 176

Questions 177

Administrative 177

Control over Parliament House 177

Parliamentary administration 179

Services to Members 179

Ex officio membership of committees and associations 179

Absence of Speaker and vacancy in office 180

Vacancy 180

Acting Speaker 181

Deemed Speaker 181

The Speaker’s vote 182

Exercise of the casting vote 182

To enable a further decision of the House 183

To enable debate to continue 183

To decide a matter before the House 184

Speaker voting in committee 186

Sources of procedural authority 186

Constitution 186

Standing orders 186

Traditional practice 187

Speaker’s rulings 188

Points of order 189

Dissent from rulings 189

Interpretation of the Constitution or the law 191

Criticism of Speaker’s actions and conduct 192

Speaker’s authority not supported by the House 198

6  The Speaker, Deputy Speakers and officers continued

Deputy Speaker 199

Election of Deputy Speaker 199

Deputy Speaker as Chair of House 200

Powers and duties of Deputy Speaker as Chair of the Federation Chamber 201

Resignation and vacancy 202

Second Deputy Speaker 202

Speaker’s panel 203

Staff of the House and administration 204

The Parliamentary Service Act 204

Principal staff of the House 205

The Clerk of the House 205

Role and functions of the Clerk 207

Deputy Clerk and senior staff 208

Serjeant-at-Arms 208

The Department of the House of Representatives 209

The other parliamentary departments 209

Department of the Senate 210

Department of Parliamentary Services 210

Parliamentary Budget Office 210

Bodies advising the Presiding Officers 211

Parliamentary finances 211

House Appropriations and Administration Committee 212

7    The parliamentary calendar  213

Terminology 214

A Parliament 216

Summoning Parliament 216

Proceedings on opening day 216

Welcoming ceremony 217

House assembles and Parliament opened 217

Deputy appointed by Governor-General 218

Members sworn 218

Election of Speaker 218

Presentation of Speaker to Governor-General 219

Governor-General’s speech 219

Formal business 220

Report of Governor-General’s speech and Address in Reply Committee 220

Other business 221

Proposed new arrangements for opening day 222

Dissolution 223

Effects of dissolution 224

Expiry 224

Prolongation 225

A Session 225

Opening of a new session 226

‘Opening’ by the Sovereign 227

First Session 227

New Session 228

Prorogation 228

Effects of prorogation 230

The Address in Reply 231

Presentation to House 231

Debate 232

Amendments 232

Presentation to Governor-General 233

Sitting and non-sitting periods 234

Statistics 234

Sitting periods 234

Pattern of sittings 234

History of sitting pattern 235

Days and hours of meeting 235

Special adjournments 237

Special reassemblies of the House 237

8   Order of business and the sitting day  239

Sittings 239

Definition 239

Two sittings commencing on the one day 240

Length of sittings 240

Joint sittings 241

Joint meetings 241

Addresses to both Houses by foreign heads of state 242

Secret sittings and meetings 243

Suspension of sittings 243

Pursuant to standing orders 243

Election of Speaker and deputies 243

Meeting of a new Parliament 244

Grave disorder 244

Lack of quorum 244

Pursuant to resolution of the House 244

Practice of the House 244

Meal breaks 245

Other occasions 245

8  Order of business and the sitting day continued

Meeting of the House 247

Preliminaries to meeting—the Daily Program 247

Meetings at hour other than pursuant to adjournment 248

Meeting when House has not adjourned the previous sitting 248

Acknowledgement of country and Prayers 249

Order of business 250

Business on Mondays 252

Motions to set or vary the order of business 252

Ordinary order of business 252

Government business 252

Notices and orders of the day 252

Determination of precedence 253

Postponement of notices and orders of the day—re-arrangement  

of items of business 253

Member absent or failing to rise when notice called on 254

Discharge of orders of the day 254

Notices and orders of the day not called on 255

90 second statements 255

Question Time 255

Presentation of documents 256

Matter of public importance 257

Ministerial statements (by leave) 257

Matters accorded precedence 257

Censure or no confidence motions and amendments 257

Matters of privilege 259

Motions of thanks or condolence 259

Motions for leave of absence to a Member 259

Announcements of ministerial arrangements 259

Swearing-in of Members and announcements of returns to writs 260

Other matters that can interrupt the ordinary order of business 260

Personal explanations 260

Acknowledgment and admission of distinguished visitors 260

Announcements and statements by the Speaker 260

Committee reports and documents 261

Matter of special interest 261

Suspension of standing orders 261

Points of order 262

Disorder 262

Absence of a Minister 262

New business rule 263

Adjournment 264

Standing orders provisions 264

Motion moved by a Minister 265

Automatic adjournment 265

Adjournment of the House 266

Adjournment of the House for special reasons 268

Meeting and adjournment of the Federation Chamber 268

Quorum 270

Standing orders provisions 270

Quorum at time of meeting 270

Quorum during sitting 271

Lack of quorum in division 271

Lack of quorum noticed 271

Quorum count deferred 273

Resumption of proceedings after count out 273

Quorum in the Federation Chamber 274

Divisions 274

Determination of questions arising 274

Number of divisions 274

Entitlement of Members to vote 275

Divisions not proceeded with 275

Only one Member calling for division 275

Request for division withdrawn 275

Discretion of Chair 276

Recording dissent 276

Procedure during divisions 276

Ringing of bells and locking of doors 276

Four or fewer Members on a side 277

Appointment of tellers 277

Members to be within area of Members’ seats to vote 278

Members not to move places during vote 278

Recording the vote 279

Requirement to vote a certain way 279

Points of order and Members’ remarks during a division 280

Successive divisions 280

Deferred divisions 280

Record of divisions 281

Division repeated 282

Pairs 282

Proxy voting 283

Free votes 283

Proposals for change in division procedure 285

Electronic voting 286

Balloting 286

 

9    Motions  289

Definition of a motion 289

Notice 291

Motions requiring notice 291

Motions moved without notice 291

Giving notice 293

Member absent 293

Member suspended 293

Notices of matters sponsored by more than one Member 293

Need for seconder 294

Contingent notice 294

Order on the Notice Paper 294

Notice amended or divided by Speaker 295

Notice altered by Member 295

Withdrawal or removal of notice 296

Form and content of motions 296

Authority of the Speaker to amend or disallow 296

Length 297

Wording 297

Rules regarding subject matter 297

Unparliamentary words 297

Frivolous or rhetorical content 298

Sub judice 298

Same motion rule 298

Progress of motion in House 299

Motion moved 299

Motion seconded 300

Motion dropped 301

Question proposed—motion in possession of House 302

Withdrawal of motion 302

Question superseded or dropped 303

Question deferred 303

Consideration of question interrupted 304

Motion declared urgent 304

Complicated question divided 304

Question put and result determined 305

Consideration in the Federation Chamber 305

Amendments to motions 306

How to move 306

Restrictions on Members in moving and speaking to amendments 307

Seconder required 308

Closures and expiry of time during moving of amendment 308

Amendment in possession of House 308

Form and content of amendment 309

Relevancy 309

Intelligible and legible 309

Length 309

Consistency 309

Same amendment 309

Amendment to earlier part of question 310

Amendment to words already agreed to 310

Direct negative 310

Omission of all words 311

Alternative propositions 311

Other restrictions 312

Order of moving amendments 313

Withdrawal of proposed amendment 313

Amendment to proposed amendment 313

Putting question on amendment 314

Question on amendment—trial of simple form for all cases 314

Question on amendment proposing to omit words—traditional form 315

Main question put as amended 316

Motions agreed to—resolutions and orders of the 

House 316

Duration 316

Effect 318

Resolution or vote of the House rescinded or varied 319

Resolution expunged from records 321

Motions of no confidence and censure 321

The Government 321

Withdrawal of confidence shown by defeat on other questions 322

Prime Minister and other Ministers 325

Censure of Minister or Government by Senate 327

Censure of a Member or Senator 327

Censure of the Opposition 328

Addresses 328

To the Sovereign 329

To members of the Royal Family 329

To the Governor-General 330

Resolutions to Sovereign and Governor-General 330

Presentation of Addresses 331

Reply 331

Address to the Presiding Officers 331

Motions of condolence 331

Motions of thanks 334

9  Motions continued

Motion of apology 335

Motion to discuss matter of special interest 335

Motions relating to the standing orders 336

Motions to make or amend standing or sessional orders 336

Leave of the House 336

Motion to suspend standing or sessional orders 337

Pursuant to notice 338

By leave of the House 338

Without notice 338

Without notice as a tactical measure 339

Debate on motion 340

Combined motions 341

Absolute majority 341

Constitutional validity 341

10   Legislation  343

Constitutional provisions 343

Bills—the parliamentary process 343

Form of bill 344

Long title 344

Preamble 345

Enacting formula 345

Clauses 346

Short title 346

Commencement provision 347

Activating clause 348

Definitions 348

Substantive provisions 348

Schedules 348

Associated documentation 349

Table of contents 349

Headings and notes 349

Explanatory memorandum 349

Statement of compatibility with human rights 350

Comparative memorandum (black type bill) 350

Preparation of bills—the extra-parliamentary process 350

Synopsis of major stages 351

Classification of bills 353

Ordinary bill procedure 356

Initiation and first reading 356

The application of the same motion rule to bills 357

Referral to Federation Chamber 358

Proceedings in the Federation Chamber 359

Referral to standing or select committee 359

Referral for advisory report 359

Bill referred to select committee 360

Bill referred directly by Minister 361

Attempted referral by second reading amendment 361

Second reading 361

Moving and second reading speech 361

Resumption of debate 363

Nature of debate—relevancy 364

Questions during second reading debate 366

Second reading amendment 366

Relevancy and content 366

Length 367

Anticipation of detail stage amendment 367

Addition of words 368

Direct negative 368

Form of amendment 368

Moving of amendment 368

Seconding 369

Debate and questions put 369

Effect of question being put in the form ‘words omitted stand’ 370

Effect of agreeing to reasoned amendment 370

Reasoned amendment in the Federation Chamber 371

‘6 months’ amendment 371

Determination of question for second reading 372

Bill reintroduced 372

Bill not proceeded with 372

Proceedings following second reading 373

Reference to legislation committee 373

Leave to move third reading/report stage immediately 373

Former committee of the whole 374

Consideration in detail 374

Moving of motions and amendments 375

Debate 375

Questions put 376

Inadmissible amendments 376

Bill considered clause by clause 377

Clauses 378

New clauses 378

Schedules 379

Postponed clauses 379

Preamble 380

Title 380

Reconsideration of part of bill during detail stage 380

Bill considered as a whole, or by parts 380

10  Legislation continued

Report stage (for bills considered by Federation Chamber) 381

Reconsideration of bill before third reading 382

Third reading and final passage 383

Rescission of third reading 384

Procedural variations for different categories  

of bills 385

Private Members’ bills 385

Constitution alteration bills 386

Absolute majority 386

Disagreements between the Houses 387

Senate bills 387

Introduction and first reading 387

Subsequent proceedings 388

Procedures to speed the passage of bills 388

Cognate second reading debate 389

Bills considered together 390

All stages without delay 391

By leave 391

Following suspension of standing orders 391

Contingent notices 391

Programming motions following suspension of standing orders 392

Bills declared urgent (guillotine) 393

Declaration of urgency 394

Allotment of time 394

Debate and amendment of allotment of time motion 396

Variation of allotment of time 396

Proceedings under guillotine 397

Division of a bill 398

Lapsed bills 398

Administrative arrangements 400

Printing and distribution 400

Introduced copy 401

Third reading print 401

Deputy Speaker’s amendments 401

Clerk’s certificate and transmission to the Senate 401

Error in certificate 402

Presentation of bills for assent 403

Preparation of bills for submission for assent 403

Presentation of first bill for assent 404

Governor-General’s assent 404

Bills reserved for the Queen’s assent 404

Presentation of double dissolution bills 405

Presentation of constitution alteration bills 406

Amendment recommended by Governor-General 407

Errors in bills assented to 408

Publication of Acts 408

The interpretation of Acts 409

Construction of Acts subject to the Constitution 409

Regard to purpose or object of Act 409

Use of extrinsic material in the interpretation of an Act 409

Delegated legislation 410

Legislative Instruments Act 411

Making and registration of legislative instruments 412

Notification of intention and consultation 412

Register of Legislative Instruments 412

Sunset provisions 412

Parliamentary scrutiny and control 412

Presentation to the House 413

Disallowance 413

Action in the House—giving notice of disallowance 414

Reckoning of time 415

Notice to disallow before presentation 415

Approval 416

Regulations and Ordinances Committee 417

11   Financial legislation  419

Constitutional provisions 419

Parliament’s control of government finances by means of legislation 419

The Consolidated Revenue Fund 419

Financial initiative of the Executive 419

Limits on the Senate’s powers in respect of financial legislation 420

Initiation 420

Amendment 422

Former financial procedures 422

Bills containing special appropriations 423

Procedures peculiar to special appropriation bills 424

Introduction 424

Second reading amendment 424

Proceedings following second reading 425

Message recommending appropriation 425

Message for amendment 426

Consideration in detail 427

Appropriation and supply bills 428

Summary of annual financial legislation 428

11  Financial legislation continued

Ordinary annual services of the Government 429

The components of the annual Budget 430

Appropriation Bill (No. 1)—the main appropriation bill 430

Message recommending appropriation and introduction 430

Second reading—Budget speech and debate 430

Reasoned amendment 431

Consideration by estimates committees 431

Consideration in detail 432

Amendments 433

Proposed improvements to procedures for consideration of estimates 433

Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 434

Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill 434

Budget papers and related documents 434

Explanatory memorandums for appropriation bills 435

Additional appropriation bills 435

Additional appropriation bills for special purposes 436

Supply bills 437

Advance to the Finance Minister 437

Advances to the Presiding Officers 438

Taxation bills 438

Procedures peculiar to taxation bills 441

Introduction 441

Second reading amendment 442

Consideration in detail 442

Customs and excise tariff proposals 443

Consolidation and validation of tariff proposals 444

12    Senate amendments and requests  445

Procedure following Senate consideration 445

Limitations on Senate power of amendment 445

Certain amendments viewed as initiation 445

Agreement by Senate without amendment (or requests) 445

Senate amendments 446

Further and non-relevant amendments by House 448

Rescission of agreement to Senate amendments 448

Reconsideration of Senate amendments—rescission of resolution to 

lay bill aside 449

Reasons 449

Senate requests for amendments 449

Bills which the Senate may amend, in parts, and must request, in parts 450

Senate amendments which, in the view of the House, should be made  

as requests 451

Increases in proposed charges or burdens on the people 451

Inquiries into the interpretation and application of the 3rd paragraph  

of section 53 452

Amendments requiring a Governor-General’s message 454

Variation of the destination of an appropriation 455

Bills imposing fees amounting to taxation 455

Requested amendments made 456

Requested amendments not made 456

Requested amendment not made, but effect achieved by other means 457

Pressed requests 457

Pressed requests and s. 57 of the Constitution 462

Division of a House bill by the Senate 462

Proceedings in case of continued disagreement 463

Senate bills amended by House 464

13    Disagreements between the Houses  467

Conferences 467

Informal conference 469

section 57 of the Constitution 470

Double dissolutions 472

The 1914 double dissolution 472

The 1951 double dissolution 474

The 1974 double dissolution 477

The 1975 double dissolution 478

Significance of the constitutional crisis of 1975 483

Tensions in the system of Cabinet government in a State- 

represented federal system 484

Impact of the ‘supply’ provisions 485

The 1983 double dissolution 486

The 1987 double dissolution 487

Joint sitting 488

The 1974 joint sitting 489

High Court cases relating to the joint sitting 491

14    Control and conduct of debate  493

Manner and right of speech 494

When Members may speak 494

Matters not open to debate 494

General rule—a Member may speak once to each question 494

Moving and seconding motions 495

Moving and speaking to amendments 495

Leave to speak again 496

14  Control and conduct of debate continued

Speaking in reply 496

Misrepresentation of a speech 497

Personal explanations 497

Other matters by indulgence of the Chair 498

Statements by indulgence referred to Federation Chamber 500

Statements by leave 500

Ministerial statements 501

Leave requirement for ministerial statements 502

Statements on a topic following suspension of standing orders 502

Allocation of the call 502

List of speakers 504

Manner of speech 504

Remarks to be addressed to Chair 504

Place of speaking 505

Reading of speeches 505

Language of debate 505

Incorporation of unread material into Hansard 506

Display of articles to illustrate speeches 508

Citation of documents not before the House 510

Rules governing content of speeches 510

Relevancy in debate 510

General principles and exceptions 510

Cognate debate 511

Persistent irrelevance or tedious repetition 512

Anticipation 512

Allusion to previous debate or proceedings 513

References to committee proceedings 513

References to Members 514

Offensive or disorderly words 514

Reflections on Members 515

Reflections on the House and votes of the House 517

References to the Senate and Senators 518

References to the Queen, the Governor-General and State Governors 518

References to other governments and their representatives 519

Reflections on members of the judiciary 520

Sub judice convention 521

Right to legislate and discuss matters 522

Discretion of the Chair 522

Civil or criminal matter 523

Chair’s knowledge of the case 524

Matters before royal commissions and other bodies 524

Interruptions to Members speaking 525

Interventions 526

Interjections 526

Curtailment of speeches and debate 527

Curtailment of speeches 527

Time limits for speeches 527

Extension of time 528

Closure of Member 529

Adjournment and curtailment of debate 530

Motion for adjournment of debate 530

Leave to continue remarks 532

Closure of question 532

Guillotine 534

Other provisions for the interruption and conclusion of debates 534

Powers of Chair to enforce order 535

Sanctions against disorderly conduct 535

Direction to leave the Chamber 536

Naming of Members 537

Proceedings following the naming of a Member 537

Gross disorder by a Member 540

Removal by Serjeant-at-Arms 541

Grave disorder in the House 541

Disorder in the Federation Chamber 541

Other matters of order relating to Members 542

Questions  543

Question Time 543

Some historical features 543

Duration of Question Time 545

Number of questions 546

Allocation of the call 546

Supplementary questions 547

Rules governing questions 548

Questioners 549

Private Members 549

Ministers 549

Parliamentary Secretaries 549

Speaker 549

Direction of Questions 549

To Ministers 549

Rostering of Ministers 550

To Parliamentary Secretaries 550

To private Members 551

To committee chairs, etc 552

To the Speaker 553

Length of questions 554

15  Questions continued

Form and content of questions 554

To relate to Minister’s public responsibilities 554

Statutory authorities 555

Questions to seek factual information or press for action 556

Debate, argument, etc. 556

Inferences, etc. 556

References to debates 557

References to committee proceedings 557

Information, comment, etc. in questions 557

References to newspaper reports, etc. 558

Questions seeking opinions 559

Announcement of government policy 560

Questions regarding persons 560

Questions concerning the Crown 561

The sub judice convention 562

Language 562

Repetition of questions 562

Question without notice similar to question on Notice Paper 563

Personal interest 563

Questions requiring detailed response 563

Questions in writing 564

Notice of question 564

Form and content 565

Printing of questions on Notice Paper 565

Removal of questions from Notice Paper 565

Answers 565

No obligation to answer 565

Answers to questions put to Ministers representing Senate Ministers 566

Answers to questions without notice 566

Addition to or correction of an answer 567

Content of answers and relevance 568

Length of answers 570

Answers and the authority of the Chair 570

Answers to questions in writing 570

Unanswered questions 572

16    Non-government business  573

Private Members’ Mondays 574

Order of business on Mondays 574

Selection and programming of business—role of the Selection Committee 574

Referral of business listed for the Federation Chamber 575

committee and delegation BUSINESS 576

Consideration in the House 576

Consideration in the Federation Chamber 577

Removal of reports from the Notice Paper 577

Private Members’ business 577

Removal of private Members’ business from the Notice Paper 578

Consideration in government time 578

Voting on private Members’ business 578

Private Members’ motions 579

Private Members’ bills 580

Drafting 582

Financial initiative 583

Impact 584

Grievance debate 587

Programming and scope of the debate 587

Members’ 90 second statements 588

constituency statements 589

Adjournment debate 589

Time limits 590

Debate 590

Call of the Chair 591

Adjournment debate in the Federation Chamber 591

Matters of public importance 592

Proposal of matter to Speaker 592

Discretionary responsibility of the Speaker 593

Whether matter in order 593

More than one matter proposed 594

Criteria for determining a matter in order 594

Matter must be definite 594

Public importance 594

Ministerial responsibility 595

Anticipation 595

Current committee inquiries 595

Sub judice 595

Matter discussed previously 595

Matters involving legislation 596

Subject that can only be debated upon a substantive motion 597

Matter proposed withdrawn 597

Discussion 598

Matter read to House and supported 598

Matter amended 598

Relevance 599

Speaking times 599

Interruptions 599

16  Non-government business continued

Termination of discussion 599

Motion to call on business of the day 600

Suspension of MPI procedure 600

17    Documents  601

Documents presented to the House 601

Method of presentation 602

Time of presentation 602

By the Speaker 602

Pursuant to statute 603

At government initiative 604

Deemed to have been presented 605

By leave 605

By private Members 605

Ministers 605

Pursuant to standing order 201 606

Presented by the Clerk 607

Returns to order 607

Election petitions 607

Returns to writs 608

Parliamentary committee and delegation reports 608

Ministerial statements 608

Orders and resolutions in relation to documents 609

Motion that a document be made a Parliamentary Paper 609

Motion to take note of document 609

Resolutions authorising the production of documents and attendance  

of House employees in court or other proceedings 610

Distribution and printing of documents 611

Custody and availability of original documents 611

Release prior to presentation 612

Presentation when Parliament not sitting 612

Parliamentary Papers Series 612

Role of the Publications Committee 613

The Parliamentary Paper function 613

The investigatory function 614

Reports 614

House documents—agenda and record 615

Notice Paper 615

Items of business 615

Notices 615

Orders of the day 616

Contingent notices of motion 616

Questions in writing 616

General information 617

Votes and Proceedings 617

Accuracy and alterations 619

Hansard—the parliamentary debates 620

Control of publication 621

Correction, deletion and incorporation of material 621

Copyright 622

Parliamentary privilege relating to documents 622

Documents presented to the House 623

Committee documents 623

Hansard 623

Votes and Proceedings 624

Notice Paper 624

Public interest immunity 624

The courts 625

The Parliament 625

Petitions 628

Definition of a petition 629

Rules for the form and content of petitions 630

Electronic petitions 630

Attachments 632

Moderate language 632

Rules about signatures 633

Forgery of signatures 633

Principal petitioner 633

Petitions Committee 634

Lodging a petition 634

Presentation 634

Presentation by the Petitions Committee 634

Presentation by a Member 635

Presentation of out of order petitions 635

Motion at time of presentation 635

Action taken on petitions 636

Referral to a Minister 636

Public hearing by Petitions Committee 636

Referral to another committee 636

Petitions from unusual sources 637

Abuse of the right of petition 638

Privilege attaching to petitions 638

18    Parliamentary committees  639

Authority for the appointment of committees 639

Types of committees and terminology 640

Parliamentary committees 640

Different terminology used for House of Commons committees 641

Federation Chamber—functions and status as a committee 641

Unofficial committees 642

House standing committees 642

General purpose standing committees 642

Committees concerned with the operations of the House 643

Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests (S.O. 216) 643

Library Committee (S.O. 217) 644

House Committee (S.O. 218) 644

Publications Committee (S.O. 219) 644

Petitions Committee (S.O. 220) 644

Procedure Committee (S.O. 221) 644

Selection Committee (S.O. 222) 645

House Appropriations and Administration Committee (S.O. 222 a ) 645

House select committees 645

Conferral with committees of the Senate 646

Joint committees 648

Joint committees appointed by resolution 648

Joint Standing Committee on the Parliamentary Library 649

Joint statutory committees 649

Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit 649

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works 650

Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings 651

Other statutory committees 651

Appointment and duration 651

Committees of the House 651

Joint committees appointed by resolution 651

Joint statutory committees 652

Avoidance of duplication of inquiries 652

Effects of dissolution and prorogation on committees 653

Dissolution 653

Prorogation 653

Different positions taken by the two Houses 654

Membership 656

Eligibility to serve on committees 656

Pecuniary and personal interest 656

Suspension from the House 658

Ex officio members 658

Number of members and party composition 658

Appointment of Members 659

Vacancies 659

Chair 660

Election 660

Chair required to be government member 660

Chair appointed 661

Procedural authority 661

Administrative authority 662

Deputy chair 663

Committee administration — staff and advisers 663

General principles for the administration of parliamentary committees 664

Powers of committees 666

Source of power 666

Derivation and extent of investigatory powers 667

Delegation of investigatory power 669

Powers of joint committees 670

Statutory secrecy provisions 670

Conduct of inquiries 671

Referral of matters for inquiry 671

Scope of inquiry and procedures 672

Change to scope of inquiry or procedures 672

Obtaining evidence 672

Invitation of submissions 672

Compulsory attendance 673

Witness in prison 674

Answers to questions, provision of information 674

Evidence from Commonwealth public servants 676

Evidence from State public servants and State Members 677

Evidence from Members and Senators 679

Evidence from former Members and Senators 681

Evidence from parliamentary staff 682

Evidence from judges 682

Public interest immunity 683

The Government’s strong position 683

Government guidelines 683

Committee practice 684

Documentary evidence—additional considerations 686

Submissions and exhibits 687

Search for documents 688

Withdrawal, alteration, destruction or return of documents 688

Sub judice convention 689

18  Parliamentary committees continued

Charges against Members 690

Swearing of witnesses 691

Offences by witnesses 692

Protection of witnesses 693

Privacy 693

Counsel or advisers 693

Protection in legal proceedings 695

Protection from improper interference, arrest and molestation 696

Protection of persons referred to in evidence 696

Protection of witnesses—joint committees 697

Payment to witnesses 697

Evidence as to proceedings 697

Publication of evidence 698

Authorisation for publication of evidence 698

Limited publication 698

Partial publication 699

Media coverage 699

Private or in camera hearings 700

Disclosure of private or in camera evidence 701

Disclosure of in camera evidence in dissenting reports 702

Disclosure of in camera evidence after 30 years 703

Resolution on disclosure of in camera evidence 703

Documents treated in confidence 703

Access to old evidence and documents 704

Unusual secrecy provisions 704

Unauthorised disclosure or publication of evidence 705

Expunging of material from evidence 706

Reports 707

Frequency of reporting 707

Drafting and consideration of reports 708

Protest or dissent 709

Presentation of reports 710

Oral reports 711

Presentation of reports and minutes—joint committees 711

Amendment of presented reports 711

Premature disclosure or publication 712

Authority for release when House not sitting 713

Government responses to reports 713

Meeting procedures 714

First meeting 714

Time and place of meeting 715

Meetings during sittings of the House 715

Joint committees—meetings during sittings of the Senate 715

Meetings outside Parliament House 716

Meetings overseas 716

Quorum 717

Quorum—joint committees 718

Presence at meetings of Members who are not members of the committee 719

Visitors 719

Procedures at hearings 720

Less formal proceedings 722

Inspections 722

Seminars, informal discussions, public meetings and workshops 722

Video and teleconferencing 723

Use of internet 724

Disorder 725

Motions and voting 725

Minutes of proceedings 726

Confidentiality of proceedings and records 727

Televising, filming and recording of proceedings 727

Subcommittees 729

19    Parliamentary privilege  731

Privilege defined 731

Distinction between breach of privilege and contempt 731

The Commonwealth Parliament’s privilege powers 732

Derivation 732

Reference to House of Commons practice 732

Statutory provisions 732

Judicial interpretation of section 49 733

No new privilege may be created except by legislation 734

The privilege of freedom of speech 735

Absolute and qualified privilege 736

Proceedings in Parliament 736

Privilege attaching to Hansard reports 739

Use of Hansard and other documents in courts or other tribunals 739

Restriction on use of or reference to parliamentary records 739

Arrangements for the production of parliamentary records 742

Waiver of privilege by House not possible 743

Matters arising when House is not sitting 743

Precedents 744

‘Brisbane line’ Royal Commission 744

Sankey ‘Loans affair’ prosecution 744

Order of Mr Justice Begg in the case of Uren v. John Fairfax & Sons  744

Royal Commission into Australia’s Security and Intelligence  

Agencies 745

Cases involving Mr Justice Murphy and Judge Foord 745

Case involving charges against a Member 746

19  Parliamentary privilege continued

Freedom of information 746

Other privileges 747

Freedom from arrest 747

House to be informed of the detention of a Member 748

Extension of privilege to others 748

Exemption from jury service 748

Exemption from attendance as a witness 748

Acts constituting breaches of privilege and  

contempts 749

Misconduct 750

In the presence of the House or a committee 750

Disobedience to the rules or orders of the House 750

Abuse of the right of petition 751

Forged or falsified documents 751

Conspiracy to deceive 751

Deliberately misleading the House 751

Corruption in the execution of their office as Members 752

Lobbying for reward or consideration 753

Improper interference with and obstruction of Members and  

House employees in the discharge of their duty 753

Attempts by improper means to influence Members in the performance  

of their duties 754

The offer of a benefit or bribe 754

Intimidation etc. of Members 754

‘Bankstown Observer’ (Browne/Fitzpatrick) Case 754

Case involving Hon. G. Scholes MP 755

Cases involving letters written by Members 755

Case involving Mr Katter MP 756

Brown case (UK) 756

Chairman of the Sydney Stock Exchange Case 756

Offences against witnesses 757

Berthelsen Case and other cases 757

Acts tending indirectly to obstruct Members in the discharge of their 

duty 758

Reflections on Members 758

Premature publication or disclosure of committee proceedings, 

evidence and reports 758

Other offences 760

Interference with the administration of the Parliament 760

Penal jurisdiction of the House 760

Power and source 760

Commitment 762

Form of warrant 762

Imposition of a fine 763

Reprimand or admonishment 763

Apology 764

Exclusion of persons from precincts 764

Punishment of Members 764

Apology by Member 765

Suspension 765

Former power of expulsion 766

Manner of dealing with privilege and contempt 766

Raising of matter 766

Determination of whether a matter can be accorded precedence 767

Matter not accorded precedence 768

Matter arising in committee proceedings 769

Matter arising when the House is not sitting 769

Recommended changes 769

Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests 769

Membership 769

Authority and jurisdiction 770

Procedures 771

Reports 773

Proceedings following report 773

Records of the committee 774

Citizen’s right of reply 774

Submissions from persons referred to in debate 774

Limitations and safeguards in the use of privilege 776