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Wednesday, 24 August 1994
Page: 182


Senator ROBERT RAY (Acting Manager of Government Business in the Senate) (11.10 a.m.) —I will leave our response to that for Senator Coates to handle later in the debate. I thank all senators for contributing to the debate.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.

  Items 2 to 18—by leave—taken together.


Senator ROBERT RAY (Acting Manager of Government Business in the Senate) (11.11 a.m.) —by leave—I move:

  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 esti mates, 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 Administration Parliament

Prime Minister

Finance including Administrative

Services

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Foreign Affairs and 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".

I want to draw attention to only one matter, and that is the starting date of 10 October 1994. The Procedure Committee, with its great concentration on all the other issues, did not actually agree on a date. I think this date is based on the work done by the Clerk of the Senate on when he can get the staffing, the standing orders reprinted, et cetera. This is not a date that has been intruded by the government. The fact is that we have not given it a lot of thought, so we will accept this one. There is no devious motive in the starting date being 10 October 1994.