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Thursday, 14 November 2013
Page: 292


Mr PYNE (SturtMinister for Education and Leader of the House) (11:53): I move:

That standing order 215 be amended to read:

215 General purpose standing committees

(a) The following general purpose standing committees shall be appointed:

   (i) Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry;

   (ii) Standing Committee on Economics;

   (iii) Standing Committee on Education and Employment;

   (iv) Standing Committee on the Environment;

   (v) Standing Committee on Health;

   (vi) Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs;

   (vii) Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications;

   (viii) Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs; and

   (ix) Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue.

(b) A committee appointed under paragraph (a) may inquire into and report on any matter referred to it by either the House or a Minister, including any pre-legislation proposal, bill, motion, petition, vote or expenditure, other financial matter, report or document.

(c) A committee may make any inquiry it wishes to make into annual reports of government departments and authorities and reports of the Auditor-General presented to the House. The following qualifications shall apply to these inquiries:

   (i) Reports shall stand referred to committees under a schedule presented by the Speaker to record the areas of responsibility of each committee.

   (ii) The Speaker shall determine any question about responsibility for a report or part of a report.

   (iii) The period during which an inquiry into an annual report may be started by a committee shall end on the day the next annual report of the department or authority is presented to the House.

   (iv) If a committee intends to inquire into all or part of a report of the Auditor-General, the committee must notify the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit of its intention, in writing.

(d) Each committee appointed under paragraph (a) shall consist of ten members: six government Members and four non-government Members. Each committee may have its membership supplemented by up to four members for a particular inquiry, with a maximum of two extra government and two extra opposition or non-aligned Members. Supplementary members shall have the same participatory rights as other members, but may not vote.

This was raised yesterday in the parliament. It pertains to the new names and organisation of committees of the House of Representatives. The opposition did not have time to consider it before the debate on standing orders yesterday, and the debate on standing orders yesterday had to occur when it did because it affected question time. It is an important matter but less time important yesterday, so we deal with it today. It was placed on the Notice Paper and is quite uncontroversial.

Question agreed to.