First reading

I present the ... bill

Proposed legislation must be first introduced into the Parliament by either a senator or a member of the House of Representatives, in the form of an appropriately drafted bill.

Once passed in one house, it is introduced into the other.

The member or senator responsible for a bill notifies the chamber that it will be introduced.

On the day of introduction into the House of Representatives, a minister or private member usually presents the bill, and hands copies of it to the Clerk, who then reads out the long title of the bill ('first reading').

While members of the House of Representatives are considering a bill, its provisions may be referred to a Senate committee, which may begin examining it, including consulting members of the wider community. Senators may have the benefit of a committee report identifying the potential impact of a bill by the time they consider it in the Senate.

A bill begun and passed in one house is sent with a message to the other, indicating completion of action by the original house and requesting agreement by the second house. The presiding officer reports the message to the second house, and work begins on the bill, with it proceeding directly to a first reading.