The first Senate standing orders of 1903
One of the first actions of the Australian Senate in 1901 was to establish a Standing Orders Committee. Using the powers provided by the newly created Constitution, the committee chaired by the President of the Senate worked to determine the rules under which the Senate would operate. The Senate temporarily used the standing orders of the House of Assembly of South Australia until the adoption of its own standing orders on 19 August 1903.
The Senate rejected a proposal that its standing orders reference ‘the rules, forms and practice’ of the British House of Commons. Instead, through the recommendations of the Standing Orders Committee, it gradually built up Australian rules for Australian conditions.
Renamed the Procedure Committee in 1987, the committee continues to operate today to ensure that the Senate standing orders are ‘a dynamic body of rules, responding to altered functions and remaining relevant to the institution as it develops over time’.
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James Philip Toohey, Standing Orders Committee member 1965-67, Interview with Ron Hurst, 1990
National Library of Australia, ORAL TRC 4900/17, Session 10, 00:26:15-00:27:00.