Why is each of stage of the passage of a bill through Parliament so important?

Thanks for your question. There are several stages that a bill – a proposed law – must go through in order to become a law. These stages give members of parliament the chance to research, make speeches about, consider changes to and vote on potential laws for Australia. Each stage is important to ensure that all areas of importance in the bill have been addressed.

The first reading is the method of introducing a bill to the Senate or the House of Representatives.

During second reading debates senators and members can explain why they support or oppose a bill. They can also raise ideas about potential changes to a bill. After the debate the senators and members vote on whether the bill should be read a second time. This vote is to decide if the majority of members agree with the overall principles of the bill and would like to proceed to the third reading.

Senators and members have the option of researching a bill through the committee process. This gives the members of parliament the chance to learn more about a bill by giving the public a chance to share their knowledge and opinions about the bill.

Committee of the Whole in the Senate and Consideration in Detail in the House of Representative allow members of parliament to propose and debate changes to the bill, then vote on those changes.

The third reading vote is to decide whether the bill in its final form (which may have been changed) should be agreed to or not. That is, whether or not this bill would make a good law for Australia.