Rulings & Statements
In addition to presiding over the Senate’s proceedings, the Speaker plays an important role in upholding decorum during the sitting and ensuring the orderly conduct of Senate business. The Speaker may therefore be required to rule on certain procedural matters, including points of order, prima facie merits of questions of privilege and applications for emergency debates.
Points of order or questions of privilege are raised by Senators either to seek clarification in relation to a proceeding or to bring to the attention of the Senate an occurrence which may have breached parliamentary privilege or undermined the dignity of the Senate. A Senator who wishes to raise a matter of urgent public interest may also request that an emergency debate be held on that subject.
When issuing a ruling on these procedural matters, the Speaker cites the reasons for the decision together with references to the rule or other written authority applicable to the case. These rulings exemplify the ways in which the Rules of the Senate and practices interact and how they may be applied on a day-to-day basis.