What is the minimum number of senators required to be in the chamber in order for a bill to be passed into law?

The red Senate chamber. There are people sitting in seats which are arranged in a U-shape around a large central table.

The Senate.

David Foote/DPS AUSPIC

The Senate.

The red Senate chamber. There are people sitting in seats which are arranged in a U-shape around a large central table.

David Foote/DPS AUSPIC

Description

This image is of a large room with red furnishings. The seats are arranged around a large central table. There are 3 large chairs at the open end of the U-shaped seats that are elevated above the other chairs. There are people sitting in the seats and papers on the desks.

Hi, thanks for your question.

For a bill – a proposed law – to be passed into a law, it must be agreed to by the Senate and the House of Representatives. Section 23 and 40 of the Australian Constitution explains how the Senate and the House of Representatives vote. In both cases a vote is successful if the majority of members present vote in favour of the bill. Most senators and members choose to vote on important or contentious bills. However, there is no minimum number of senators or members required to attend when a vote is taken, other than the usual rules for a quorum.

A quorum is the minimum number of senators or members required to be in the Senate or House of Representatives at any time. The Senate must have 19 senators present (one quarter of the total number of senators) to achieve a quorum, while the House must have 30 members present (one fifth of the total number of members).The President of the Senate or Speaker of the House of Repesentatives will only ask for a quorum if a senator or member asks them to call for a quorum. In practice, many bills which have broad support are debated and voted on without a quorum.