ACT Legislative Assembly

Chapter 15


This chapter sets out the procedures relating to the initiation and passage of Bills in the Assembly.

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How initiated

167. A bill shall be initiated by the calling on of a notice of presentation; or in accordance with the provisions of standing order 200. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Notice of presentation


  1. (a) Notice of intention to present a bill shall be given by a Member by delivering a copy of its terms to the Clerk in the Chamber during a sitting;

  2. (b) a notice of intention to present a bill shall specify the long title of the bill, and shall be signed by the Member and, if a co-sponsored bill, by another Member whose name is on the bill; (Amended 6 March 2008 and 10 March 2016)

  3. (c) on the calling on of the notice a Member (or in the case of a co-sponsored bill, one of the co-sponsors) shall present to the Assembly two printed copies of the bill signed by that Member (or in the case of a co-sponsored bill, the co-sponsors) and an explanatory statement to the bill; and (Amended 20 February 2003, 30 June 2011 and 10 March 2016)

  4. (d) the standing orders shall, to the necessary extent, be applied and read as if a notice of intention to present a bill were a notice of motion. (Amended 4 May 1995)

Title – clauses to come within title

169. The long title of a bill must agree with the notice of intention to present it, and every component of the bill must come within the long title. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Irregular bill to be withdrawn

170. Every bill not prepared according to the standing orders shall be ruled out of order by the Speaker and withdrawn from the Notice Paper. (Amended 6 March 2008)

In principle agreement

Motion for in principle agreement

171. When a bill has been presented, the Member shall move, "That this bill be agreed to in principle" and the debate on the question shall then be adjourned to a future day on the motion of another Member.

Agreement in principle to be determined at a later meeting

172. The question "That this bill be agreed to in principle" shall not be determined by the Assembly during the sitting period at which the bill is first introduced, except in the case of a bill declared to be an urgent bill. (Temporary order 9 December 2008. Adopted 22 March 2012)

Amendments to be relevant

173. An amendment may be moved to the question "That this bill be agreed to in principle". The amendment must be relevant to the bill, must not anticipate an amendment which may be moved at the detail stage, and must make clear whether or not the bill will proceed to further stages of passage. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Proceedings following in principle agreement

Reference to select or standing committee

174. At any time after the presentation of a bill to the Assembly, including immediately after a bill has been agreed to in principle but not after the completion of the detail stage, a Member may move that the bill be referred to a select or standing committee. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Committee proceedings not noticed until reported

175. When a bill has been referred to a committee in accordance with standing order 174 it cannot be dealt with by the Assembly until the committee has reported. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Proceedings following reference to committee

176. When a bill has been referred to a select or standing committee and has been reported on, the Assembly shall proceed to the next stage of the bill as reported at the next sitting. (Amended 6 March 2008)

177. (Standing Order omitted 6 March 2008)

Detail stage of bill

Leave to dispense with detail stage

178. After a bill has been agreed to in principle, and there are no proceedings under standing order 174, the Assembly shall forthwith proceed to the detail stage unless the Assembly grants leave to dispense with the detail stage.

Amendments to be circulated and debate adjourned

178A. If there is an amendment to be moved at the detail stage, a signed copy of the amendment shall be delivered to the Clerk’s office by 12 noon on the day prior to the sitting at which the amendment is proposed to be moved. The Clerk shall arrange for its circulation to Members as soon as practicable. (Adopted 27 November 2012; Amended 28 February 2013)

Title and preamble stand postponed, Clauses considered

179. At the detail stage, the title and the preamble stand postponed without question proposed, and the clauses (including the headings) shall be considered in their order, a question being proposed by the Speaker on each clause "That the clause be agreed to". (Amended 6 March 2008)

Order in considering bill

180. Unless the Assembly otherwise orders, the following order shall be observed in considering the components of a bill:

  1. (a) clauses as printed and new clauses (including their headings), in their numerical order;

  2. (b) schedules as printed and new schedules, in their numerical order;

  3. (c) postponed clauses (not having been specifically postponed until after certain other clauses);

  4. (d) dictionary;

  5. (e) preamble; and

  6. (f) long title.

In considering the main appropriation bill for the year, any schedule expressing the services for which the appropriation is to be made shall be considered before the clauses and, unless the Assembly otherwise orders, the schedule shall be considered by proposed expenditures in the order in which they are shown.

In reconsidering a bill, the same order shall be followed as far as possible. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Admissible amendments

181. An amendment may be moved to any part of the bill, provided it is within the long title and relevant to the subject matter of the bill, and otherwise conforms with the standing orders. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Amendments in writing and circulated

182. An amendment can only be proposed if:

  1. (a) it is in writing and is signed by the mover; and

  2. (b) copies of the amendment have been circulated to Members. (Amended 6 March 2008 and 27 November 2012)

182A. An amendment to be proposed by the Government to its own bill must be considered and reported on by the Scrutiny Committee before it can be moved.

By leave of the Assembly, this standing order may be dispensed with on the grounds that an amendment is:

  1. (a) urgent; or

  2. (b) minor or technical in nature; or

  3. (c) in response to comment made by the Scrutiny Committee. (Temporary order adopted 26 February 2009. Adopted 22 March 2012)

Relevancy of debate

183. The debate shall be confined to the components of the bill (as set out in standing order 180) or amendment before the Assembly. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Clause or other component of the bill put as amended

184. If any clause or other component of the bill is amended, a further question shall be proposed, "That the clause (or other component), as amended, be agreed to". (Amended 6 March 2008)

Clause or other component may be postponed

185. A clause (or other component) of a bill or a clause (or other component) which has been amended may be postponed. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Amendment of title

186. If any amendment has been made in the bill, necessitating an amendment to the long title, such title shall be amended, and a question proposed, "That the title, as amended, be agreed to". (Amended 6 March 2008)

Reconsideration of bill

187. At the conclusion of consideration of the detail stage of a bill, a Member may move that the bill be reconsidered either in whole or in part.

Inadmissible amendments

188. An amendment or new clause or other component of a bill (see standing order 180) shall not be moved if it is substantially the same as one already negatived or, if it is inconsistent with one that has been already agreed to, unless the bill has been reconsidered. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Bill agreed to

189. When the detail stage has been completed, the question "That this bill (as amended) be agreed to" shall be put forthwith and determined without amendment or debate.

Bill passed – no further question

190. After the bill has been agreed to pursuant to standing order 189, no further question on the bill shall be put, and the bill shall have passed the Assembly.

Corrections to a bill


  1. (a) Under the authority of the Speaker, the Clerk may make the following formal amendments to a bill passed by the Assembly before the bill is presented to the Speaker to request notification:

    1. (i) amendments to correct clerical, grammatical or typographical errors;

    2. (ii) amendments consequential on the passage of the bill, including:

      1. (A) amendments necessary or desirable to the title, long title or method of citation;

      2. (B) amendments to correct the citation of an Act;

      3. (C) renumbering of provisions and updating of cross-references.

  2. (b) The Speaker must advise the Assembly when the amendments are made." (Amended 6 March 2008 and 2 April 2009)

Urgent bills

192. If a Member in charge of a bill, or a Member acting on behalf of that Member, declares that a bill is urgent, the question "That this bill be considered an urgent bill" shall be put. If the question is agreed to, the Member may forthwith move a motion specifying the time which shall be allotted to the various stages of the bill. Debate on any question shall be subject to standing order 69(f) – Allotment of time. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Certificate of bill having passed

193. After a Bill has been passed, the Clerk shall certify a copy as a true copy of the Bill passed by the Assembly, and the Speaker shall then ask the Parliamentary Counsel to notify the making of the proposed law. (Amended 30 August 2001)[12]

Bills for entrenching laws

194. Whenever a bill for an entrenching law has been passed by the Assembly and approved by a majority of the electors of the Territory at a referendum, it shall be so certified by the Clerk and the Speaker shall then ask Parliamentary Counsel to notify the making of the proposed law. (Amended 6 March 2008)

Message from the Governor-General

195. A message from the Governor-General recommending amendments to an enactment shall be announced to the Assembly by the Speaker, but not during a debate, nor as to interrupt a Member speaking.

Amendments by Governor-General

196. Where the Governor-General recommends amendments to an enactment, the amendments shall be printed, unless the Assembly otherwise orders, and a time fixed for taking them into consideration.

How dealt with

197. Amendments recommended by the Governor-General may be agreed to either with or without amendments, or disagreed to; or their consideration postponed.

Relevancy of amendments to Governor-General’s amendments

198. An amendment may not be moved to an amendment recommended by the Governor-General unless it is relevant thereto; nor may any amendment be moved to the enactment unless it is relevant to, or consequent upon, amendments recommended by the Governor-General.

Further proceedings after consideration

199. When amendments recommended by the Governor-General have been considered by the Assembly, a message shall be sent informing the Governor-General of any action taken.


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Page last updated on 16 May 2018
2015 Legislative Assembly for the ACT