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A guide to the Notice Paper


A Notice Paper is issued each sitting day containing details of current business before the Senate. It works in conjunction with the Senate Order of Business (otherwise known as the Red) which sets out the daily routine of business to be followed as per standing order 57.


Standing orders are the rules or procedures set down by the Senate to govern the Senate and its committees. The current version of The Senate: Standing Orders and other orders of the Senate is available on the Senate website at


The publication of the Notice Paper is authorised by standing order 43(2).


Placement of business on the Notice Paper

The way business is placed on the Notice Paper is set down according to standing orders and is listed under one of the following four categories:

Matters of privilege which take precedence over all other business and are listed at the beginning of the Notice Paper when they arise. They consist of notices of motion which the President has determined warrant such precedence and any orders relating to adjourned debates on such motions.

Business of the Senate which has precedence over government and general business for the day on which it is listed. It includes disallowance motions, orders of the day for the presentation of committee reports, motions to refer matters to standing committees, motions for leave of absence for a senator and motions concerning the qualification of a senator.

Government business which is business initiated by a minister including the consideration of government legislation. It takes precedence over general business except for a period of 2½ hours each week set aside on Thursdays for general business.

General business which is all other business initiated by senators who are not ministers. It takes precedence over government business only as described above. ( See below for a breakdown of this section.)

Within each of the above categories you may find notices of motions and/or orders of the day:

Notices of motion are statements indicating that senators intend to move particular motions on the days indicated. They are entered on the Notice Paper in the order given and may be given jointly by two or more senators. Notices of motion are usually considered before orders of the day.

Orders of the day are items of business which the Senate has ordered to be considered on particular days, usually arising from adjourned debates on matters, including legislation, or requirements to present committee reports.

On days other than Thursdays, the Notice Paper records all business of the Senate and government business items, but includes only new items of general business from the previous sitting day. On Thursdays, to take account of General Business at 4.30 pm, a full listing of business relating to the consideration of government documents, committee reports and government responses to committee reports and Auditor-General’s reports is also published.

Sections of the Notice Paper

Temporary Chairs of Committees

A daily list of all senators appointed to take the chair in the absence of the President or Deputy President.

Other than the sections: Matters of Privilege, Business of the Senate and Government Business, the Notice Paper , may also contain the following:

General Business, including:

Orders of the Day —Adjourned debates on motions initiated by private senators to take note of business other than a government document or a private senator’s bill as these have their own sections.

Orders of the day relating to Private Senators’ Bills —Adjourned debates on motions to consider bills introduced by senators in a personal capacity. New items appear in the following day’s Notice Paper .

These can also be listed for consideration for up to 2 hours and 20 minutes on Thursday mornings.


New documents tabled pursuant to order and those which have had motion moved to take note and the debate adjourned. Such orders arise from consideration of the documents presented on a particular day and include consideration of any documents not reached on the day.

They are also listed for consideration for up to one hour on Thursdays during the consideration of general business, and as a result the section appears in full in the Thursday’s printed Notice Paper .

Committee Reports and Government Responses, and Auditor-General’s Reports

Adjourned debates on motions: to consider or adopt committee reports and government responses, or to consider Auditor-General’s reports. These orders may be considered for one hour on Thursdays at the conclusion of general business, and as a result the section appears in full in the Thursday’s printed Notice Paper .

Business for Future Consideration

Lists any notice of motion or order of the day to be considered on a specific day in the future, for example, a committee report ordered to be presented on a specific date, or a notice of motion given for a day other than the next day of sitting.

Business, is listed under the date it is to dealt with in the chamber, starting with the next day of sitting. Any business to which a date cannot be allocated, for example, the tabling date may be a result of some other event occurring, will be placed at the end of the section.

Bills Referred to Committees

Lists all bills or provisions of bills currently being considered by Senate or joint committees, including details of: who referred, to which committee, when referred, variations to the reporting date, any interim reports presented and final reporting date.

Questions on Notice

Includes a listing of numbers of all unanswered questions on notice, available at www. , and a number range of questions on notice which remain unanswered for more than 30 days.

Answers to Estimates Questions on Notice

Lists the dates set by standing committees for the answering of questions taken on notice during estimates hearings.

Orders of the Senate

An order of the Senate is a resolution agreed to by the Senate which is regarded as continuing in effect unless its terms indicate that it has a limited life, or is spent by the effluxion of time or the circumstances to which it applied no longer exist.

This section can include resolutions such as: new or amendments of standing orders which have not yet appeared in a current reprint, temporary orders of the Senate, the authorisation of committees to meet during the sitting of the Senate, and orders for production of documents.

Contingent Notices of Motion

These are statements of intention by senators that, contingent on a specified occurrence, they may move a motion, usually to suspend standing orders. They are grouped by subject.

Categories of Committees

Details in list form, categorised by type, all Senate and joint committees. Specific details of each committee appear in the section Committees.


An alphabetical listing of all Senate and joint committees, including their membership, current inquiries and reports presented on or since the previous sitting day i.e. presented out of sitting.

Senate Appointments to Statutory Authorities

A listing of the statutory authorities on which the Senate is represented and details of representation.

Ministerial Representation

A listing of Senate ministers and the portfolios they represent.




Inquiries concerning the Notice Paper or business listed in it may be directed to the Senate Table Office on (02) 6277 3018.



Printed by authority of the Senate