Activities Help

Below are explanations of the items appearing in the "Activity" field of the Hansard Advanced Search screen.


The adjournment debate allows members to raise issues of public importance which they wish ministers to take action on. Ministers then respond to these issues the members have raised.

Business of the house

"Business of the house" records any changes to "government business" or the parliamentary program. The government and opposition can modify, as they see fit, proceedings of the house or the Assembly or Council (e.g. when to go onto the "adjournment debate" or when the house should conclude for the day et cetera).


Condolence motions are moved as a mark of respect after the death of members, former members and other dignitaries. You can read how the Premier, Leader of the Opposition and other members have paid tribute to these people.

Governor's speech

The Governor makes the "opening speech" to all members and guests, giving an overview of the government's proposed program of legislation for the new parliament. members then give their "Address-in-Reply", which usually incorporates new members' inaugural speeches (formerly referred to as "maiden speeches").


The grievance debate gives members the opportunity to raise matters of specific concern relating to individual constituents or other issues of significance.

Matters of public importance

Members are able to raise and discuss matters of public importance at set times. This is one of the main ways topics of concern are discussed in the Legislative Assembly.

Members statements

Members can make brief statements on any topic of concern, with each member being able to speak for no longer than 90 seconds.

Ministerial statement

Ministerial statements are used by ministers to occasionally address the Parliament on important issues which are of concern to the government.


Reports, documents and papers are regularly tabled (e.g. parliamentary papers and annual reports) in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. These are all listed in Hansard.

Personal explanation

Members may explain matters of a personal nature. Such personal explanations are usually either

  • to correct a statement where the member may have inadvertently misled the house,
  • to explain where the press has misquoted what the member may have said in the house, or
  • to correct statements made in the house by other members which misrepresent what the member has actually said in the house.

Personal explanations do not get debated.


Petitions are a way for citizens or groups to place their concerns before Parliament and ask for action to be taken. They are a method of demonstrating to the government, issues that members of the public feel strongly about.

Questions on notice

Members may ask questions of ministers on notice, as set out in the daily Questions on Notice (known informally as the Question Paper). These questions usually probe issues relating to operations of the minister's department.

Questions without notice

Question time allows members to ask ministers for information relating to government administration. This is an opportunity for the opposition to probe and check on what the government has been doing.

Second reading

The introductory speech given by a member (usually a minister) when a bill is delivered to the house for debate is referred to as the minister's "second reading speech" and provides a useful guide to interpreting the intentions and reasons for the bill's introduction. The debate which follows this speech is also part of the second reading and constitutes what is called the "second-reading debate". Selecting "Ssecond reading" will also display the "committee" stage of a bill.

Statement of compatibility

The Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Bill passed in 2006 requires that bills introduced into Parliament be certified as compatible with Victoria's human rights obligations. A "statement of compatibility' is now incorporated into Hansard, prior to the minister's second-reading speech. This statement must indicate whether, in the minister's opinion, the bill is consistent with the charter, and if so, how it is consistent, or, if the minister considers the bill to be inconsistent with human rights, the nature and extent of the inconsistency.

Statements on reports

Members of Parliament in the Legislative Assembly can make statements on parliamentary committee reports. Legislative Council members can make statements on any reports or papers (including those external to Parliament) tabled in the house.

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