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Factsheet No. 4 - Finding out about the House

Factsheet No. 4 - Finding out about the House

​​​There are a number of ways you can find out about the Legislative Assembly, including by looking at the Assembly's House papers and procedural publications, accessing the NSW Parliament website, through social media, and by visiting the Parliament. This factsheet gives a brief overview of the resources that are available and how you might use them to gain an understanding of the history, role and functions of the Legislative Assembly, and to find out what is happening in the Assembly right now.

​Contents

  • House papers
  • Standing and Sessional Orders
  • Procedural publications
  • Website
  • Social media
  • Visiting Parliament


House papers

There are a number of publications that are directly related to the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly, known as 'House papers', which provide current information on the business that has been, or will be considered by the House. These are:

  • The Daily Business Program
  • The Votes and Proceedings
  • The Business Paper
  • The Questions and Answer Paper
  • The Statutory Rules and Instruments Paper
  • ​Hansard


The Daily Business Program

A Daily Business Program is prepared by the Leader of the House for each sitting day and provides a listing of business to be dealt with by the Legislative Assembly on that day. The program is indicative only and the order may be varied without notice. The Daily Business Program is issued via the Parliament's website​

Votes and Proceedings

The Votes and Proceedings are the official minutes or record of proceedings in the Legislative Assembly and are published after each sitting day via the Parliament's website.

Among other things, the Votes and Proceedings record:

  • Resolutions of the House;
  • The stages and passage of bills;
  • The terms of motions;
  • The conduct and result of divisions;
  • The attendance of Members in the House; and
  • The times at which the House meets and adjourns.


Business Paper

The Business Paper is a document that lists all business that has been commenced but not concluded in the Legislative Assembly.  A Business Paper is issued for each sitting day via the Parliament's website.  Among other things, the Business Paper lists bills, notices of motions, petitions requiring a Government response or listed for discussion, and committee reports listed for debate and/or requiring a Government response.

Questions and Answers Paper

Questions which Members of the Legislative Assembly wish to put to Ministers in writing (as opposed to oral questions asked at Question Time), together with the answers provided by Ministers, are recorded in the Questions and Answers Paper.  Members can submit a total of nine questions per sitting week and the Leader of the Opposition can submit twelve. 

Members' questions are published in full when the question is first asked and once again when the answer is received. The Questions and Answers Paper is published each sitting day via the Parliament's website, and, during any adjournment of the House for two weeks or more, a Paper is published from time to time containing answers received.

Statutory Rules and Instruments Paper

Statutory rules, or delegated or subordinate legislation, are regulations, by-laws, or ordinances that are generally drafted by Ministers and approved or confirmed by the Governor or a rule of court. While statutory rules do not require approval by the Parliament, Members from either House, may disallow them by way of a motion in the House.

For the information of Members the Legislative Assembly Table Office publishes a Statutory Rules and Instruments Paper which lists the title and date of gazettal of rules or instruments, information on tabling dates, and the last sitting day for notices of disallowance to be given.

The Paper is published via the Parliament's website on Tuesdays during sitting weeks and on the first Tuesday of every month when the House is not sitting.

Hansard

Hansard​ is an edited record of everything that is said in both Houses of Parliament, similar to a transcript. It is published progressively through the day, via the Parliament's website three hours behind the debate in the House.  The final version of the day is produced about three hours after the last House has finished sitting for the day.

Standing and Sessional Orders

The Standing and Sessional Orders are the rules by which the Legislative Assembly regulates its conduct and procedures. The Standing Orders, which require the Governor's approval, are the main rules. These are supplemented by Sessional Orders, which are temporary rules that vary the existing rules or introduce new procedures. Sessional Orders are resolutions of the House and do not require the Governor's approval, but are only valid for the session of Parliament for which they have been adopted.

The Standing and Sessional Orders are published on the Parliament's website.

Procedural publications

The Legislative Assembly produces a number of useful procedural publications that can be found on the Parliament's website. These include NSW Legislative Assembly Practice, Procedure and Privilege, which is the primary reference source on the procedures of the Assembly; A Short Guide to the Procedures of the Legislative Assembly​, which briefly explains of the practice and procedures of the Assembly; and the Procedural Digest series, which is produced at the end of each sitting period and provides a summary of significant procedural events in the Assembly during the period covered.

Website

The Parliament's website has a wide range of resources and information about the work of the Legislative Assembly. Of particular note is the Interactive Sitting Day Schedule, which sets out the Routine of Business for a sitting week and allows users to click on individual items of business for a concise explanation of the business item.

Users can also access a live webcast of Legislative Assembly proceedings here on days when the House is sitting.

There is also information about Members, with contact details and links to individual Members biographies.
  

Social media

The Parliament has a number of social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Links to all of these can be found on the Parliament's website.

The Legislative Assembly's Twitter page (@NSWParlLA) highlights news and events from the Assembly Chamber and from around the Parliament.

The Parliament's YouTube channel is an excellent source of information about the Legislative Assembly and hosts professionally produced videos on the role and history of the Parliament, the passage of legislation, the work of Members in the Chamber and the work of parliamentary committees.

 

Visiting Parliament

Parliament House is open to the public between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm every weekday, except for public holidays.

On sitting days visitors are welcome to view proceedings in the Chambers from the public galleries. It is advisable to book in advance for Question Time in the Legislative Assembly, which is held at 2.15 pm each sitting day.

Free hour-long guided tours of the Parliament are conducted every Monday and Friday at 1.30 pm. The tours include visits to the Chambers of both Houses, and the historic Parkes, Wentworth and Jubilee rooms.

On non-sitting days visitors can request short tours of the Chambers from the staff at the front desks.