"Do members of parliament get a copy of the bill before it is first read by the Clerk?"

Thanks for your question.

The short answer is ‘no’ or, at least, ‘not necessarily’. Bills are prepared, either by the government or a private member or senator, and do not have to be circulated before being introduced to Parliament, but it may be helpful to do so.

Once the first reading stage has been completed, meaning a minister or the private member or senator has presented the bill to Parliament and the long title has been read out by the clerk, the bill becomes a public document. At this stage it is made available on the Parliament’s website aph.gov.au/bills and copies of the bill are circulated to members and senators.

Very importantly, all bills must be accompanied by a document called an ‘explanatory memorandum’, outlining the intentions of the bill. Together these documents explain the purpose, general principles and effect of the bill.

Usually debate will not begin for a few weeks following the first reading, giving members or senators time to study the bill before speaking and voting on it. This pause in proceedings also allows for public discussion and response.

 

diagram to help explain Do members of parliament get a copy of the bill before it is first read by the Clerk?