Standing orders are the rules used to manage the work of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Along with the Australian Constitution and customs that have developed over many years, standing orders guide the way the Senate and House operate each day.
In the Senate and House 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, senators and members might be able to:
A motion to suspend standing orders must be passed by an absolute majority—more than half of the total membership of the Senate or House.
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.