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Monday, 19 March 2018
Page: 1483


The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Reynolds ) (17:26): A message has been received from the House of Representatives forwarding a resolution agreed to by that House relating to appointment of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The House of Representatives message read as follows—

Proposed Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and transmitting for the concurrence of the Senate the following resolution:

That:

(1) a Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples be established to inquire into and report on matters relating to constitutional change, and in conducting the inquiry, the committee:

(a) consider the recommendations of the Referendum Council (2017), the Uluru Statement from the Heart (2017), the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (2015), and the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians (2012);

(b) examine the methods by which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are currently consulted and engaged on policies and legislation which affects them, and consider if, and how, self-determination can be advanced, in a way that leads to greater local decision making, economic advancement and improved social outcomes;

(c) recommend options for constitutional change and any potential complementary legislative measures which meet the expectations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and which will secure cross party parliamentary support and the support of the Australian people;

(d) ensure that any recommended options are consistent with the four criteria of referendum success set out in the Final Report of the Expert Panel on Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution:

   (i) contribute to a more unified and reconciled nation;

   (ii) be of benefit to and accord with the wishes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;

   (iii) be capable of being supported by an overwhelming majority of Australians from across the political and social spectrums; and

   (iv) be technically and legally sound;

(e) engage with key stakeholders, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations; and

(f) advise on the possible steps that could be taken to ensure the referendum has the best possible chance of success, including proposals for a constitutional convention or other mechanism for raising awareness in the broader community;

(2) the committee present to Parliament an interim report on or before 30 July 2018 and its final report on or before 29 November 2018;

(3) the committee consist of eleven members, three Members of the House of Representatives to be nominated by the Government Whip or Whips, two Members of the House of Representatives to be nominated by the Opposition Whip or Whips, one Member of the House of Representatives to be nominated by any minority group or independent 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 independent Senator;

(4) 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;

(5) the members of the committee hold office as a joint select committee until presentation of the committee's final report or until the House of Representatives is dissolved or expires by effluxion of time, whichever is the earlier;

(6) the committee elect two of its members to be joint chairs, one being a Senator or Member, who is a member of the Government party and one being a Senator or Member, who is a member of the non-Government parties, provided that the joint chairs may not be members of the same House;

(7) the joint chair, nominated by the Government parties shall chair the first meeting of the committee, and the joint chair nominated by the non-Government parties shall chair the second meeting of the committee, and subsequent committee meetings shall be chaired by the joint chairs on an alternating basis;

(8) a joint chair shall take the chair whenever the other joint chair is not present;

(9) each of the joint chairs shall have a deliberative vote only, regardless of who is chairing the meeting;

(10) 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;

(11) the committee:

(a) have 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; and

(b) appoint the chair of each subcommittee who shall have a deliberative vote only;

(12) each subcommittee shall have at least one Government member of either House and one non-Government member of either House;

(13) 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;

(14) 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;

(15) 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;

(16) the committee or any subcommittee have power to:

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

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

(c) sit in public or in private;

(d) report from time to time, in order to progress constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and

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

(17) the committee or any subcommittee have power to consider and make use of the evidence and records of the former Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples appointed during the 44th Parliament;

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