"Can anyone apart from the independents suggest changes to the bills?"

Thanks for your great question, Jasmin.

Any member of Parliament can suggest a change to a bill—proposed law—not just independents. Putting forward a change is called ‘moving an amendment’ and is an important part of the law-making process.

Amendments can be introduced in either the Senate or the House of Representatives but, like all bills, they must be discussed and voted on.

The most common time for moving amendments is during the ‘consideration in detail’ stage in the House of Representatives or ‘committee of the whole’ in the Senate which follows the 2nd Reading of a bill. For a bill to be passed by a house of Parliament it must then be read—agreed to—a 3rd time.

While any member or senator can suggest a change, it is more likely that independent, minor party or opposition members will move amendments. This is because most bills introduced to Parliament are government bills and government members are less likely to suggest changes to their own bill.

However, government members can—and sometimes do—move amendments to correct a problem and/or strengthen a bill.

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