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Thursday, 14 June 1984
Page: 3029

Senator GRIMES —On 8 May 1984 Senator Missen asked me, as Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate, a question without notice concerning proposals to reform the committee system of the Parliament, particularly in the House of Representatives. I undertook to obtain further information on the Government's proposals from Mr Young. Mr Young has supplied the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The Government has been considering a range of proposals to improve the Parliamentary Committee system, paying particular attention to that in the House of Representatives. This is in line with the Government's publicly stated objective of maximising the Parliament's effectiveness, including the operation of the Committee system. On 4 May 1983, I indicated the Government's recognition of the positive contribution that Committees can make to the work of the Parliament and, accordingly, moved to re-establish the Committees already in existence at the dissolution of the last Parliament.

Since then, the Government has sponsored the establishment of the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Reform which has undertaken the most comprehensive review of the Commonwealth's electoral system for several decades. While the government has not resiled in any way from its commitment to improve the Committee system, recent decisions which require a change in the size of the Parliament have suggested that the Government look more closely at the wider procedural problems of managing parliamentary business to ensure that the Parliament's time is spent in the most productive way. Consideration of these wider issues has, for the time being, overtaken the narrower focus of reform of the Committee system.