Detailed examination

I move that the following amendments be agreed to

Following completion of the second reading stage, if required, bills are considered in detail. Members or senators have the opportunity to thoroughly understand, explore the operation and improve the wording of a bill. This stage is called committee of the whole in the Senate and consideration in detail in the House of Representatives.

The content of a bill is usually taken to be agreed, except for the portions where members of Parliament have concerns. These areas of concern are debated, and amendments proposed to omit, substitute or add words. While amendments are usually drafted in advance and circulated prior to debate, sometimes circumstances require an amendment to be drafted on the spot.

Running sheets assist the conduct of an orderly debate in committee of the whole in the Senate, by providing a suggested order of proceeding with amendments. They also highlight where circulated amendments are similar, identical, or in conflict with one another, and if amendments are consequential on others being agreed to.

A majority of members present must vote in favour of a measure for it to be passed. Most decisions are made 'on the voices' by members calling 'aye' or 'no' when they are asked for a decision. Members may call for a formal count on any decision and this is called a division. During a division those voting in favour take a seat on the right of the chair and those voting against sit on the left. A teller for each side of the question names those voting on that side, and a tally is made for the 'Ayes' and the 'Noes'.

Some bills may pass back and forth between the House of Representatives and the Senate several times before the bills reach a form that is agreed by both chambers.

The House of Representatives may refer some bills to a second, concurrent, chamber, known as the Federation Chamber, where, if there is no dissent, the bills may be agreed to, including with amendments. Business conducted by the Federation Chamber must be later reported to and confirmed by the House of Representatives.