"How long do members of parliament usually debate bills before they vote on them?"

Great question Timothy!

The length of debate before voting in Parliament varies greatly so, unfortunately, there is no ‘usual’ amount of time.

Most debates concern bills—proposed laws—which must progress through a series of stages in order to become a law. These stages give members of Parliament the chance to research, make speeches, consider changes, and vote on potential laws for Australia.

Not every member or senator needs to debate every bill, but it is important they have the opportunity to do so.

There are a number of factors which may influence how many members of Parliament wish to speak about a bill, and how long the debate will continue for, including:

As a result, some bill debates may be completed, and the vote taken, within 2 hours, while others may take over 50 hours (spread across many days, weeks or even months).

One of the shortest debated bills to pass both houses of Parliament is the Criminal Code Amendment (Food Contamination) Bill 2018, sometimes referred to as the ‘Strawberries Bill’. It was debated, voted on, and agreed to by both houses all on the same day – 20 September 2018.

One of the longest debated bills is the Native Title Amendment Bill 1997 which was debated for over 56 hours in the Senate.

 

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