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