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House Procedures

House Procedures

​​​​​​​The operation of the House and its committees are governed by laws, rules and practices which are the basis for the Chair’s authority when they preside over proceedings. 
This is parliamentary procedure and there are three main sources:

 
  • ​​​Legislation: The Constitution Act 1902 prescribes many of the Assembly’s operations such as how members are elected to the Assembly, how its sessions are commenced and terminated and what constitutes a quorum for its meetings.

 

As well as the Constitution Act, there are other statutes which provide the Assembly with its powers. For example, the Parliamentary Evidence Act 1901 which makes provision for the summoning of witnesses, or the Defamation Act 2005​ which ensures that the link between parliamentary privilege, freedom of speech and parliamentary proceedings is maintained

 
  • Rules: The Standing Orders​ are a set of rules which govern both the internal operations of the Assembly and its committees; and the process by which the House formally communicates with the Governor and the Legislative Council. 

 

For example, there are Standing Orders which determine how meetings are conducted, those that set the rules for debate and those that provide a process for considering legislation. 
 
The House may also adopt Sessional Orders​. These modify or replace Standing Orders and as their name denotes, they have effect for the parliamentary session.

A collection of historical Standing Orders​ is now available, this collection from 1856 - 1997 shows how the orders have been amended over time.  There have only been three complete re-issues of the full set of Standing Orders, the 1st set in 1856, in 1894 and then it was not until 1994 when a plain English version was published that a new complete set of Standing Orders were prepared and accepted by the House.  However, between these years a number of orders were rescinded or amended and these can be seen in the versions that are published.  All Standing Orders resolved by the House must be approved by the Governor before they become part of the rules which govern both the internal operations of the Assembly and its committees.  

 
  • Practice and precedent: Legislation and the Standing and Sessional Orders do not cover all aspects of the procedures of the House. 
 
The third source of procedure are those decisions, or rulings by the Chair as to how a particular rule or practice should be interpreted and applied; or where, in the absence of any existing procedure, the Chair gives the House direction as to how it should proceed. 

 
Those decisions form an important body of practice and precedent for the House which develops and adapts over time.

 

Sitting Day Routine of Business   - Each sitting day in the Assembly, time is allocated to particular types of business. The order and type of business dealt with throughout the course of each sitting day is termed the ‘routine of business’, which is set out in Standing Order 97.  

 
An interactive sitting day routine of business  has been developed - This guide will enable you to see the typical sitting week schedule at a glance and then click on a particular item for an explanation of that proceeding.