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Tuesday, 23 August 1994
Page: 26


Senator COLLINS (Minister for Primary Industries and Energy) —On behalf of Senator Robert Ray I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, he will move  motions to make the following changes to standing and other orders to carry out the recommendations of the Procedure Committee in its First Report of 1994 relating to the committee system:

  STANDING COMMITTEES

1.  Standing order 25

Leave out paragraphs (1) to (11) inclusive, substitute the following paragraphs:

(1)  At the commencement of each Parliament, Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees shall be appointed, as follows:

  Community Affairs

  References Committee

  Legislation Committee

  Economics

  References Committee

  Legislation Committee

  Employment, Education and Training

  References Committee

  Legislation Committee

  Environment, Recreation, Communications and the Arts

  References Committee

  Legislation Committee

  Finance and Public Administration

  References Committee

  Legislation Committee

  Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

  References Committee

  Legislation Committee

  Legal and Constitutional

  References Committee

  Legislation Committee

  Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport

  References Committee

  Legislation Committee.

(2)(a)The References Committees shall inquire into and report upon matters referred to them by the Senate, other than the matters to be referred to the Legislation Committees.

(b)The Legislation Committees shall inquire into and report upon estimates of expenditure referred to them in accordance with standing order 26, any bills or draft bills referred to them, annual reports in accordance with a reference of such reports to them, and the performance of departments and agencies allocated to them.

(3)  References concerning departments and agencies shall be allocated to the committees in accordance with a resolution of the Senate allocating departments and agencies to the committees.

(4)  The committees shall inquire into and report upon matters referred to their predecessor committees appointed under this standing order and not disposed of by those committees, in accordance with the allocation of matters in paragraph (2), and in considering those matters may consider the evidence and records of those committees relating to those matters.

(5)(a)The References Committees shall consist of 8 senators, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 4 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and one nominated by minority groups and independent senators.

(b)The Legislation Committees shall consist of 6 senators, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 2 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and one nominated by minority groups and independent senators.

(6)(a)The committees to which minority groups and independent senators make nominations shall be determined by agreement between the minority groups and independent senators, and, in the absence of agreement duly notified to the President, any question of the representation on a committee shall be determined by the Senate.

(b)The allocation of places on the committees amongst minority groups and independent senators shall be as nearly as practicable proportional to the numbers of those minority groups and independent senators in the Senate.

(7)(a)Senators may be appointed to the committees as substitutes for members of the committees in respect of particular matters before the committees.

(b)On the nominations of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and minority groups and independent senators, participating members may be appointed to the committees.

(c)Participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committees, and have all the rights of members of committees, but may not vote on any questions before the committees.

(8)  A committee may appoint subcommittees consisting of three or more of its members, and refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to consider.

(9)  The References Committee and the Legislation Committee for each subject area may meet together by decision of each committee to confer on any matter referred to either committee and to coordinate their work where necessary.

(10)(a)Each of 6 References Committees shall elect as its chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and each of 2 References Committees shall elect as its chair a member of the largest minority group in the Senate.

(b)The chairs to which members nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and members of the largest minority group are elected shall be determined by agreement between the Opposition and the largest minority group, and, in the absence of agreement duly notified to the President, any question of the allocation of chairs shall be determined by the Senate.

(c)Each Legislation Committee shall elect as its chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

(d)Each committee shall elect one of its members as its deputy chair, and the member so elected shall act as the chair of the committee when the member elected as chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.

(e)Where the chair of a committee is a member nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the deputy chair shall be a member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or minority groups and independent senators, and where the chair is a member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or minority groups and independent senators, the deputy chair shall be a member nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

(f)When votes on a question before a committee are equally divided, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, shall have a casting vote.

(11)  The chairs of the committees, together with the chairs of any select committees appointed by the Senate, shall constitute the Chairs' Committee, which may meet with the Deputy President in the chair, and may consider and report to the Senate on any matter relating to the operations of the committees.

2.  Standing order 26

Leave out the standing order, substitute the following standing order:

26.  (1)  Annual and additional estimates, contained in the documents presenting the particulars of proposed expenditure and additional expenditure, shall be referred to the Legislation Committees for examination and report.

(2)  In respect of their examination of the estimates, the committees shall not have power to send for persons and documents.

(3)  The committees shall hear evidence on the estimates in public session.

(4)  Not more than four committees shall hear evidence on the estimates simultaneously.

(5)  When a committee hears evidence on the estimates, the chair shall, without motion, call on items of expenditure in the order decided upon and declare the proposed expenditure open for examination.

(6)  The committees may ask for explanations from ministers in the Senate, or officers, relating to the items of proposed expenditure.

(7)  The report of a committee on the estimates may propose the further consideration of any items.

(8)  A Hansard report of the committees' hearings of evidence on the estimates shall be circulated, in a manner similar to the daily Senate Hansards, as soon as practicable after each day's proceedings.

3.  Allocation of departments and annual reports

That the following resolution be substituted for the resolutions of 14 December 1989 and 13 May 1993:

(1)  That departments and agencies be allocated to the Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees as follows:

Committee Departments and agencies in the portfolio

Community Affairs Human Services and Health

Social Security

Economics Treasurer

Industry, Science and Technology

Industrial Relations

Employment, Education and

Training Employment, Education and Training

Environment, Recreation, Environment, Sport and Territories

Communications and the Arts Tourism

Communications and the Arts

Finance and Public Parliament

Administration Prime Minister

Finance including Administrative Services

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Foreign Affairs and Trade

Trade Defence including Veterans' Affairs

Legal and Constitutional Attorney-General

Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

Rural and Regional Affairs and Primary Industries and Energy

Transport Housing and Regional Development

Transport

(2)  That annual reports of departments and agencies stand referred to the Legislation Committees in accordance with the allocation of departments and agencies in paragraph (1).

(3)  That each committee examine each annual report referred to it and report to the Senate whether the report is apparently satisfactory.

(4)  That each committee consider in more detail, and report to the Senate on, each annual report which is not apparently satisfactory, and on the other annual reports which it selects for more detailed consideration.

(5)  That each committee investigate and report to the Senate on any lateness in the presentation of annual reports.

(6)  That, in considering an annual report, a committee take into account any relevant remarks about the report made in debate in the Senate.

(7)  That annual reports of departments and budget-related agencies may be considered by committees in conjunction with their examination of estimates.

(8)  That the committees report on annual reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year, and on annual reports tabled by 30 April each year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year.

(9)  That the reports of the committees draw to the attention of the Senate any significant matters relating to the operations and performance of the bodies furnishing the annual reports.

(10)  That each committee report to the Senate each year whether there are any bodies which do not present annual reports to the Senate and which should present such reports.

LEGISLATIVE SCRUTINY COMMITTEES

4.  Standing order 24: Scrutiny of Bills Committee: chair

Paragraph (5), leave out "Leader of the Government", substitute: "Leader of the Opposition in the Senate".

DOMESTIC COMMITTEES: CHAIRS

5.  Standing order 17: Procedure Committee

At the end of the standing order add the following paragraph:

(4)  The Deputy President shall be the chair of the Committee.

6.  Standing order 18: Privileges Committee

At the end of the standing order add the following paragraphs:

(3)  The Committee shall consist of 7 senators, 4 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate and 3 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

(4)  The Committee shall elect as its chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

7.  Standing order 20: Library Committee

At the end of the standing order add the following paragraph:

(3)The President shall be the chair of the Committee.

8.  Standing order 21: House Committee

Paragraph (1), leave out "President", substitute "Deputy President".

At the end of the standing order, add the following paragraph:

(3)  The Deputy President shall be the chair of the Committee.

9.  Standing order 22: Publications Committee

At the end of the standing order, add the following paragraph:

(4)  The Committee shall elect as its chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

10.  Standing order 22A: Senators' Interests Committee

Leave out paragraph (3), substitute the following paragraph:

(3)  The Committee shall elect as its chair one of its members nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

MATTERS AFFECTING COMMITTEES GENERALLY

11.  Quorums of all committees and subcommittees

Standing order 29: Leave out paragraph (1), substitute the following paragraph:

(1)  In each committee and subcommittee, unless otherwise provided, a quorum shall be:

(a)a majority of the members of the committee or subcommittee; or

(b)two members, where one member present was appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate and one member present was appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

Standing order 19: Leave out paragraph (5) and the second sentence of paragraph (6).

Standing order 23: Leave out paragraph (6).

Standing order 24: Leave out paragraph (3) and the second sentence of paragraph (4).

12.  Standing order 33: Meetings during sittings

Leave out the standing order, substitute the following standing order:

33.  (1)  A committee of the Senate and a joint committee of both Houses of the Parliament may meet during sittings of the Senate for the purpose of deliberating in private session, but shall not make a decision at such a meeting unless:

(a)all members of the committee are present; or

(b)a member appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate and a member appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate are present, and the decision is agreed to unanimously by the members present.

(2)  A committee shall not otherwise meet during sittings of the Senate except by order of the Senate.

(3)  Proceedings of a committee at a meeting contrary to this standing order shall be void.

13.  Standing order 38: Minority reports etc

Leave out paragraph (2), substitute the following paragraph:

(2)  After a draft report has been considered and agreed to by a committee, with or without amendment, a minority or dissenting report may be added to the report by any member or group of members, and any member or participating member may attach to the report relevant conclusions and recommendations of that member.

CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS

14.Powers of estimates committees: order of 6 May 1993

Heading, leave out "estimates committees", substitute "legislation committees when considering estimates".

Paragraph (1), leave out "an Estimates Committee", substitute "a legislation committee".

15.Consideration of appropriation bills in committee of the whole: order of 6 May 1993

Paragraph (1), leave out "an Estimates Committee", substitute "a legislation committee".

16.Estimates committees—written answers prior to hearings: order of 23 August 1990

Heading, leave out "Estimates committees", substitute "Legislation committees considering estimates".

17.Broadcasting of estimates committee proceedings: order of 5 May 1993

Heading, leave out "estimates committee proceedings", substitute "proceedings of legislation committees when considering estimates".

Paragraph (1), leave out "estimates committees", substitute "legislation committees when considering estimates".

Paragraph (1), leave out "an estimates committee", substitute "a committee".

18.Powers of parliamentary secretaries: order of 6 May 1993

Paragraph (1), leave out, "Senate estimates committee", substitute "legislation committee considering estimates".