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Glossary

S

scrutinise
To examine something closely.
secondary legislation (also known as delegated legislation)
Regulations or rules made by executive government or an executive office-holder under an Act of Parliament (law), to put in place a further law related to the existing Act.
second chamber
(see Federation Chamber)
second reading
The second stage of a bill’s passage through the Parliament, in which members of parliament debate and vote on the main idea of the bill.
select committee
A group of members of parliament who inquire into and report to the Parliament on a specific issue, and who disband when they have reported.
Senate
One of the two houses of the Australian Parliament, also known as the upper house.
Senate estimates hearings
Meetings of Senate committees that examine government spending and related actions and decisions.
senator
A person elected to the Senate.
senators’ statements
(see also grievance debate)
A weekly discussion in the Senate in which a senator may speak on any matter of concern to them or their constituents.
separation of powers
The principle that the power to govern should be distributed between the Parliament that makes the law, the Executive that puts the law into action and the Judiciary that interprets the law, to avoid one group having all the power, and to act as a check on the possible misuse of power.
Serjeant-at-Arms
(see also Usher of the Black Rod)
A parliamentary officer who assists the Speaker in the House of Representatives to maintain order and run the chamber, as well as providing services to members of the House of Representatives.
session
A period which starts on the first sitting day after an election or prorogation (formal ending of a session) and ends either by prorogation, a dissolution of the House of Representatives, or at the conclusion of three years from the first sitting of the House.
sessional order
(see also temporary order)
A temporary rule used to manage the work of the House of Representatives, which may be adopted as a permanent rule.
shadow Cabinet
The key group of decision-makers in the opposition, consisting of the Leader of the Opposition and top-level shadow ministers.
shadow minister
A member of the opposition who scrutinises (closely examines) the work of a particular minister or government department, and explains opposition policies.
shadow ministry
The entire group of shadow ministers who scrutinise (closely examine) the work of government ministers.
shire
An area of local government, usually rural.
short title
The commonly-known name of a bill.
simple majority
(see also absolute majority)
More than half of the total votes of members of parliament present in either the House of Representatives or the Senate.
sitting
A meeting of a house of parliament.
Speaker
(see also President)
A member of the House of Representatives chosen by other members to run meetings of the House and to make sure the standing orders (parliamentary rules) are followed.
standing committee
A group of members of parliament who meet regularly throughout the life of a Parliament to inquire into and report on bills and issues relating to particular subjects.
standing orders
The rules used to manage the work of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
state
A region with certain law-making powers, which may join with other states to make up a federal union.
state government
The level of government that puts state law into action, delivers government services and makes decisions on behalf of the people of that state.
state parliament
Elected representatives that make state laws.
statute
A written law made by a parliament.
suffrage
The right to vote in an election.
suspend
To remove a member of parliament from the House of Representatives or the Senate, usually because of their disorderly conduct.
swinging voter
A voter who transfers their support from one political party or candidate to another at different elections.

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