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The law

The path of a bill

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Catalogue no: 0702

Source/Credit line: Parliamentary Education Office (www.peo.gov.au)

Description

This diagram illustrates the usual path of a bill through the federal Parliament to become Australian law.

In the House of Representatives a bill goes through the following stages:

  • 1st reading—the bill is introduced to the House of Representatives.
  • 2nd reading—members debate and vote on the main idea of the bill.
  • House committee*—public inquiry into the bill and reporting back to the House.
  • Consideration in detail*—members discuss the bill in detail, including any changes to the bill.
  • 3rd reading—members vote on the bill in its final form.
  • The bill is passed in the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate.

Senate referral – the Senate may refer the text of the bill  to a Senate committee for inquiry (this can happen while the bill is in the House).

In the Senate a bill goes through the following stages:

  • 1st reading—the bill is introduced to the Senate.
  • 2nd reading—senators debate and vote on the main idea of the bill.
  • Senate committee*—public inquiry into the bill and reporting back to the Senate.
  • Committee of the whole*—senators discuss the bill in detail, including any changes to the bill.
  • 3rd reading—senators vote on the bill in its final form.
  • The bill is passed in the Senate.

The bill is given Royal Assent—The Governor-General signs the bill.

The bill becomes an Act of Parliament—a law for Australia.

*Optional stage