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Standing Orders Committee - Senate - First Report (1932-34 Session)


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483

1932-33-34.

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE OF AUSTRALIA.

THE SENATE.

FIRST REPORT

FROM THE

STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE.

PROPOSED

NEW STANDING ORDERS

AND

AMENDMENTS OF EXISTING STANDING ORDERS.

(Laid on the Table by the President, and ordered to be printed, 31st July, 1934.)

{COfl of Pape1'.-pz,paratlon, not given ; 780 eoplea; approximate coat crl printing and publlahlng, U,)

Printed a.nd Published for the GoVERNMENT of the CoMMONWEALTH of AusTRALIA by L. F. JoHNSTON, Government Printer Canberra.

No. S.3.-F.3178.-PRICE 3D.

485

FIRST REPORT FROM THE STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE.

The Standing Orders Committee have duly considered the matters referred to them in the following motions agreed to by the Senate, viz.:-1. That the following questions be referred to the Standing Orders Comntittee for and report:­ (a) Whether it is desirable there should be some, a.nd if so wha-t, amendment of the procedure provided

for in the Standing Orders relating to the choice of President of the Senate. (b) Whether any other, and if so what, fur ther amendments of the Standing Orders are, in the opinion of the Committee, considered advisable. (Motion pa-ssed by Senate, 8th September, 1932.)

2. That the Standing Orders Committee be requested to give consideration to Standing Orders l95A and 196 with a view to their simplification, and also to consider the advisability of their a1nendment so as to prevent repetition of debate. (Motion passed by Senate, 29t h November, 1932.)

3. That the question of the provision in the Standing Orders of some definite procedure governing the debate on the first reading of Bills which the Senate may not amend be referred to the Standing Orders Committee for consideration and report thereon. (Motion passed by Senate, 7th .June, 1933.)

Election of President.- -Your Committee have given careful consideration to the first question referred to them, viz.:-the desirability or otherwise of an amendment of the procedure in connexion with the election of President, and, whilst of the opinion that it is not desirable to alter the provision that t l1e Clerk shall act as Chairman during the proceedings, consider it should be made definite that h e shall have authority to apply the Standing Orders on the occasion, and further that t:here should be a limitation of the time allowed for speaking to any motion proposed.

The Amendments your Committee recommend to give effect to this are set out in thE! proposed alterations to Standing Orders 16 and 17 shewn in the Appendix to t his Report.

Amendment of other Standing Orders.-With r espect to the furth er reference (see paragraph 2 above), your Committee recommend the adoption of alterations t o certain others of the Standing Orders as sh own in the Appendix.

R eference of Bills to" Standing or Select Committees.-Your Committee have reviewed the provisions of Standing Orders 195A and 196 which deal with t his subject, and, with the object of setting out the procedure in more definite t-erms, now recommend that Standing Order 196 be repealed and new Standing Orders numbered 196, 196A and 196B (as shown in the Appendix) be adopted in lieu thereof.

.. . Debate .at the First and S econd Reading stages of B1:lls which the Senate may not amend.-After full consideration o£ the remarks tnade in the Senate on thiR subject, your Committee are not disposed to recommend any material alteration of the present Standing Orders. ·

It is their opinion that it would be very difficult, almost impossible even, for the Presidin g Officer to decide, practically at once whEili appealed to·, just what matters were relevant to the subject-matter of a particular Bill. Take for instance the Annual Appropriation: Bill with its hundreds of items coveting, either ty way o£ votes for Administration purposes or straight out, votes f6r services, a multiplicity of subjects. Without a close scrutiny of the whole of these items, and a knowledge of the subjects they cover, the PreRiding Officer would, your Committee consider, fmd it impossib1e to rule definitely on the question of relevancy. It is thought also open to question whether in attempting to separate subjects for discussion at the particular stages of First and Second reading-those at the former to be irrelevant and those at the latter relevant-the result. might not be that dehate would be prolonged rather than

shortened. Such a practice might indeed encourage the delivery of two speeches rather than the on e that is usual now ; for a study of the records discloses that where there has been prol01;ged debate at the First reading stage there has usually been but little at the Second.

Your Committee recognizes that the question of the limitation of speeches is to some extent involved in a consideration of this subject. In view of the imrortunce of the opportunity whicb arises on t hese occasions for a complete review of governmental activities your Committee D.re not disposed to recommend 1:my curtailment of the time allowed for except a o;light modification of the provilSion wit h regard to extension of titne. _They

would, however, point out that an extension bey ond the time provided for in the Standing Ord ers is in the discretwn of the Senate; and would suggest that if some shortening of proceedings is, 011 any particular occasion, considered it could be effe cted by the use of such discretion.

The modificat;on suggested in Standing Order 407 A is set out in the Appendix.

President's Room, 31st July, 1934.

P. J. LYNCH, Chairman.

4

APPENDIX.

STAND INC ORDERS.

AMENDMENTS AND ADDITIONS RECOMMENDED BY THE STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE.

Standing Order 6. Leave out" his Private Secret ary " , insert" a member of His Excellency's staff".

Standing Order 16. Add t o Star.ding Order-" and shall have t he powers of t he President und er t.he St anding Orders whilst so acting ".

Standing Order 17. Add t o Standing Order-" Provided t hut the Senator in proposing tbe motion and any Senator addressing himself t hereto may not speak for longer than :fifteen minutes."

Standing Order 26. Leave out " Session, after each p eriodical or general election of the Senat e " , insert" sit tings next ensuing after the 30th day of June followin g each periodical election, or at the commencement of the Session after a general election of the Senate " .

Standing Order 66A. At end of pa,ragraph (c) a,dd " or the dis a.pproval of an award made under the authority of any Act which provides for t he award being subject to disapproval by either House of the Parliament".

New Standing Order 66B. "66E. Th e following business sh a.Il take precedence of any other 'General Business' on the day on wl1ich it is set down on the Notice Paper, viz. :-A motion for the consideration or adoption of the Report from any Standing Committee

of the Senate or J oint Standing Committee of the t wo Houses."

(A note to be put in the Standing Orders to the effect that where the words " Private Business " a re used the words" General Business" shall be read in ph ce thereof.)

Standing Order 196. Leave out Standing Order 196 and insert t he following new Standing Orders in lieu thereof, viz. :-196. After the second reading, except as provided for in Standing Orders 196A and 196B, the Senat e shall fo rthwith resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole for the consideration of the Bill.

196A. Immediately after a Bill bas been read a second time-a motion (of which notice need not be given) for referring the Bill to a Standing Committee or a Select Committee ; andjor an Instruction of which notice has been given­ may then be moved.

196B. Where the sec ond reading of any Bill has been taken pro forma, on the first occasion for consideration of the Bill in Committee of the Whole, the question shall be proposed " That this Bill be now committed " , and such motion shall be open to debate as though it were a motion for second reading.

Standing Order 281 . Leave out, from lines 1 and 6, " Committee do now divide", in sert" Question be now put".

Standing Orders 431 and 433. Leave out (wh erever occurring) the words " That the Senat e do now divide", insert" That the Question be now put ". Leave out from line 7 the words " to divide".

Standing Ord er 407 A. After " for " , in line 8, insert '· n.n v period up t.o ".

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