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JOINT SITTING-RULES--Message from the House of Representatives

The following Message from the House of Representatives was reported:

MR DEPUTY PRESIDENT, Message No. 74

The House of Representatives transmits to the Senate for its information rules adopted by the House of Representatives for the conduct of the business of a joint sitting with the Senate.

House of Representatives, B. M. SNEDDEN,

Canberra, 29 April 1981 Speaker

The rules read as follows:

Rules adopted by the House of Representatives for the conduct of a Joint Sitting with the Senate.

JOINT SITTING

Matter to be considered at the Joint Sitting

1. The purpose of the Joint Sitting shall be to choose a person to hold the vacant place in the Senate pursuant to section 9 of the Senate (Representation of Territories) Act 1973, and no other matter shall be considered at the Joint Sitting.

General Rule for Conduct of Business

2. In any matter of procedure not provided for in the following rules, the Standing Orders of the Senate, in force for the time being, shall be followed as far as they can be applied.

Chairman of the Joint Sitting

3. The President of the Senate or, in the absence of the President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, shall be the Chairman of the Joint Sitting.

Clerks of the Joint Sitting

4. The Clerk of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives shall act as Joint Clerks of the Joint Sitting and either of them may exercise a function expressed to be exercisable by the Clerk.

Minutes of Proceedings

5. Proceedings of the Joint Sitting shall be recorded by the Joint Clerks, and such records shall constitute the minutes of proceedings of the Joint Sitting and shall be signed by the Joint Clerks.

Time Limit on Speeches

6. No Senator or Member of the House of Representatives may speak for more than 5 minutes on any proposal or question before the Joint Sitting.

Objection to Rules of Chair

7. If any objection is taken to any ruling of the Chairman, such objection must be taken at once, and a motion of dissent, to be submitted in writing, moved, which, if seconded, shall be proposed to the Joint Sitting, and debate thereon shall proceed forthwith.

Entitlement to Vote

8. On any question arising in the Joint Sitting each Senator and Member of the House of Representatives, including the Chairman, shall have one vote.

Voting

9. Questions shall be decided by a simple majority of the Senators and Members of the House of Representatives present and voting, and, if the votes are equal, the question shall be resolved in the negative.

Choice of a Person to Hold the Vacant Place in the Senate

10. (a) A Senator or Member of the House of Representatives, addressing himself to the Chair, shall propose a person to hold the vacant place in the Senate and such proposal shall be duly seconded. When any person is so proposed the proposer shall state that such person is willing to hold the vacant place if chosen.

(b) In proposing a person to hold the vacant place in the Senate, the proposer shall declare that that person is eligible to be chosen for the Senate and that the nomination is in accordance with the provisions of sub-section 9 (3) of the Senate (Representation of Territories) Act 1973, as amended by the Senate (Representation of Territories) Amendment Act 1980.

(c) If only one person is proposed and seconded, the Chairman shall declare that such person has been chosen to hold the place of the Senator for the Australian Capital Territory whose place has become vacant.

(d) If more than one person is proposed and seconded, the person to hold the vacant place shall be chosen by ballot. Before the ballot proceeds, the bells shall be rung for three minutes.

(e) Before giving directions to proceed with the ballot, the Chairman shall ask if any Senator or Member of the House of Representatives desires to propose any other person to hold the vacant place, and no other person shall be proposed after the ballot is commenced.

(f) Each Senator and Member of the House of Representatives present shall be provided with a ballot-paper certified by one of the Joint Clerks, and shall vote by writing thereon the name of one of the persons duly proposed, and shall place the ballot-paper in the ballot-box.

(g) If two or more persons are proposed, the Chairman shall appoint a person from each House to be a scrutineer. The scrutineers, with the Joint Clerks, shall ascertain the number of votes for each of the persons duly proposed; and the scrutineers shall report the result to the Chairman.

(h) No informal vote shall be taken into account.

(i) If on the first ballot no person receives an absolute majority of the votes cast, a second ballot shall be taken, and the name of the person who receives the fewest votes at the first ballot shall be excluded; but if at the first ballot the names of only two persons are submitted and the number of votes for each such person is equal, the scrutineers shall by drawing lots determine which of such persons shall be chosen to hold the vacant place, and the person whose name shall be first drawn shall be deemed to have been duly chosen.

(j) Until one of the persons proposed obtains an absolute majority of the votes cast, or (as the case may be) is chosen by lot to hold the vacant place, successive ballots shall be taken, and at each such ballot the name of the person who receives the fewest votes at the preceding ballot shall be excluded.

(k) If on any ballot it is necessary to decide which of two or more persons is to be excluded from a subsequent ballot because of the number of votes for such persons being equal, a special ballot shall be taken at which the names of only those persons shall be submitted, and the name of the person having the fewest votes at such special ballot shall be excluded; but if on any special ballot it shall be necessary to decide which of two or more persons is to be excluded from a subsequent ballot because of the number of votes for such persons being equal, the scrutineers by drawing lots shall determine which of such persons shall be excluded, and the name of the person last drawn shall be excluded.

(l) If at any ballot, other than the first ballot or a special ballot, the names of only two persons are submitted and the number of votes for such persons is equal, the scrutineers shall, by drawing lots, determine which of those persons shall be chosen to hold the vacant place, and the person whose name is first drawn shall be deemed to have been duly chosen.

(m) As soon as any person obtains an absolute majority of the votes cast, or (as the case may be) is chosen by lot to hold the vacant place, the Chairman shall declare that such person has been chosen to hold the place of the Senator for the Australian Capital Territory whose place has become vacant.

(n) The ballot-papers shall be retained by the Clerk of the Senate, who shall be the custodian thereof.

Conclusion of Joint Sitting

11. Upon the declaration of the person chosen to fill the casual vacancy in the Senate, the Chairman shall forthwith declare the Joint Sitting closed.