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CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT—JOINT SELECT COMMITTEE—APPOINTMENT

A message from the House of Representatives was reported proposing the appointment of a joint select committee, as follows:

 Message no. 544, dated 1 November 2012—Proposed Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government, and transmitting for the concurrence of the Senate the following resolution:

  That:

  (1) a Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government be appointed to inquire into and report on the majority finding (financial recognition) of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government including by amending section 96 of the Constitution, and in conducting its inquiry, the Committee will assess the likelihood of success of a referendum on financial recognition, and will take into account the following matters:

   (a) the report of the Expert Panel on constitutional recognition of Local Government, including preconditions set by the Expert Panel for the holding of a referendum;

   (b) the level of State and Territory support;

   (c) the potential consequences for Local Government, States and Territories of such an amendment; and

   (d) any other matters that the Committee considers may be relevant to a decision on whether to conduct a referendum, and the timing of any referendum;


  (2) the Committee consist of twelve members, three Members of the House of Representatives to be nominated by the Government Whip or Whips, three Members of the House of Representatives to be nominated by the Opposition Whip or Whips, and one non-aligned Member, two Senators to be nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, two Senators to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and one Senator to be nominated by any minority group or groups or independent Senator or independent Senators;

  (3) every nomination of a member of the Committee be notified in writing to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives;

  (4) the members of the Committee hold office as a Joint Select Committee until presentation of the Committee's report or the House of Representatives is dissolved or expires by effluxion of time, whichever is the earlier;

  (5) the Committee elect:

   (a) a Government Member as Chair; and

   (b) an Opposition Member as its Deputy Chair who shall act as Chair of the Committee at any time when the Chair is not present at a meeting of the Committee, and at any time when the Chair and Deputy Chair are not present at a meeting of the Committee the members present shall elect another member to act as Chair at that meeting;

  (6) in the event of an equally divided vote, the Chair, or the Deputy Chair when acting as Chair, has a casting vote;

  (7) three members of the Committee constitute a quorum of the Committee provided that in a deliberative meeting the quorum shall include one Government Member of either House, and one non-Government Member of either House;

  (8) the Committee has power to appoint subcommittees consisting of three or more of its members and to refer to any subcommittee any matter which the Committee is empowered to examine;

  (9) the Committee appoint the Chair of each subcommittee who shall have a casting vote only and at any time when the Chair of a subcommittee is not present at a meeting of the subcommittee the members of the subcommittee present shall elect another member of that subcommittee to act as Chair at that meeting;

  (10) two members of a subcommittee constitute the quorum of that subcommittee, provided that in a deliberative meeting the quorum shall include one Government Member of either House and one non-Government Member of either House;

  (11) members of the Committee who are not members of a subcommittee may participate in the proceedings of that subcommittee but shall not vote, move any motion or be counted for the purpose of a quorum;

  (12) the Committee or any subcommittee:

   (a) has power to call for witnesses to attend and for documents to be produced;

   (b) may conduct proceedings at any place it sees fit; and

   (c) has power to adjourn from time to time and to sit during any adjournment of the Senate and the House of Representatives;


  (13) the Committee may report from time to time but that it present a preliminary report no later than December 2012 if possible, and a final report no later than February 2013;

  (14) the provisions of this resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the standing orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Senator McLucas), by leave, moved—That the Senate concurs with the resolution of the House of Representatives contained in message no. 544 relating to the appointment of a joint select committee.

Debate ensued.

Question put and passed.