Standing orders are the rules used to manage the work of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Along with the Australian Constitution and customs that have developed over many years, standing orders guide the way the chambers operate each day.
In the House and the Senate it is not unusual for a particular standing order or all the standing orders to be suspended to permit a certain action or actions to be taken. Suspending standing orders allows parliamentary business to be carried out in a way which would not otherwise be allowed by the standing orders.
By suspending standing orders, members and senators might be able to:
A motion to suspend standing orders must be passed by an absolute majority of member or senators (more than half of the total membership of the House or Senate).
In the House of Representatives, the procedure of moving for the suspension of standing orders is regularly used by the Opposition as an attempt to debate or highlight matters which it considers to be of national, parliamentary or political importance.