Facts About the Australian Senate and it's Purpose
The role of a Senator is to:
- Represent the views of their state in the Senate;
- Scrutinise the work of the Government;
- Introduce and debate legislation;
- Work on Senate Committees to analyse information from community
organisations, lobby groups and members of the public on specific issues
- Present petitions; and,
- Take part in Senate Estimates hearings
Passing and debating bills
Most bills are introduced into the House of Representatives and then
sent to the Senate. Bills may commence in the Senate, except for money
and tax bills.
Most bills are introduced by government ministers;
however, other members of parliament can introduce their own bills,
known as private members' or private senators' bills.
There are a number of stages that a bill must go through before it becomes a law:
A bill will become law when it has been passed, in identical form, in
both Houses of Parliament and given Royal Assent
One of the functions of the Parliament is to scrutinise the work of
the Executive Government (Cabinet and Ministry, led by the Prime
Minister). While the government is responsible for raising and spending
public money, it cannot spend money without the approval of both houses
of Parliament. Through estimates hearings, the Parliament can find out
how the government plans to raise and spend money. On this basis, the
Parliament may chose to approve or reject government spending across
Senate Estimates hearings occur three times a year - in February, May (following the Budget) and October.
A petition is a request by a group of citizens for the Senate to note a certain issue or take action to resolve it.
Petitions also need to be formatted in a specific format, otherwise the Senate won’t accept them.
Only a senator may present a petition, so you will need to forward your
petition to a senator and request that he or she present it. The list of senators
shows you those who currently represent South Australia.