Every year following the Budget Debate, the House of Representatives – the Lower House – engages in another round of presentations known as the Sectoral Debates. Later in the year their counterparts in the Senate ¬– the Upper House – engage in the State of the Nation Debates.
The Sectoral Debate is based on a Motion brought by a Government member seeking the approval of the House for Government’s proposed programmes and projects within the different sectors.
– Time is allotted for two sittings per week over a six week period following the close of the Budget Debate – conducted at the start of the new fiscal year in April.
– Based on the Standing Orders (rules governing the Houses of Parliament), members entitled to speak during these debates are, any Minister and any Member of the Opposition (selected by the Leader of the Opposition).
– According to the Standing Orders, NO member is allowed to address the House or a Committee of the whole House for more than 30 minutes on any subject. However the mover of an original Motion is allowed 45 minutes for his opening address. The House or a Committee of the whole House may at any time move a motion to extend the speaker’s time sufficient for them to complete the presentation if the individual fails to complete within the stated time.
State of the Nation Debate
The State of the Nation Debate is based on a motion brought by a Government Senator thanking the Governor-General for the Throne Speech, and seeking the approval of the Senate for the Government’s plans and programmes within the different Government sectors.
– All Senators are allowed to contribute to the State of the Nation Debate.
– The Debate gives cabinet ministers in the Senate an opportunity to address their portfolio responsibilities while highlighting Government policies and programmes.
– Senators choose the topics on which they speak and are not constrained to a sector, as in the Sectoral Debates in the House of Representatives.
Unlike the Sectoral Debates, the timeline for the State of the Nation Debates is much more fluid hence it does not necessarily begin once the debates conclude in the Lower House.
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Houses of Parliament
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