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STANDING ORDERS-STANDING COMMITTEE-FIRST REPORT FOR 61ST SESSION

The Senate, according to Order, resolved itself into Committee for the consideration of the First Report of the Standing Orders Committee for the 61st Session.

In the Committee

Consideration resumed of Item 2, and the motion moved by the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Senator Button)-That the following proposed Standing Order 36AAA be agreed to, viz: 36AAA- (1) (a) At the commencement of each Parliament, a Standing Committee of the Senate, to be known as the Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills, shall be appointed to report, in respect of the clauses of Bills introduced into the Senate, and in respect of Acts of the Parliament, whether such Bills or Acts, by express words or otherwise- (i) trespass unduly on personal rights and liberties;

(ii) makes rights, liberties and/or obligations unduly dependent upon insufficiently defined administrative powers;

(iii) make such rights, liberties and/or obligations unduly dependent upon non-reviewable decisions;

(iv) inappropriately delegate legislative power; or

(v) insufficiently subject the exercise of legislative power to parliamentary scrutiny.

(b) The Committee, for the purpose of reporting upon the clauses of a Bill when the Bill has been introduced into the Senate, may consider any proposed law or other document or information available to it, notwithstanding that such proposed law, document or information has not been presented to the Senate.

(2) The Committee shall have power to consider the Minutes of Evidence and records of Standing Committees for the Scrutiny of Bills appointed during previous Sessions.

(3) (a) Unless otherwise ordered, the Committee shall consist of six Senators, three being members of the Government to be nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and three being Senators who are not members of the Government, to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or by any minority group or groups or Independent Senator or Independent Senators.

(b) The nominations of the Opposition or any minority group or groups or Independent Senator or Independent Senators shall be determined by agreement between the Opposition and any minority group or groups or Independent Senator or Independent Senators, and, in the absence of agreement duly notified to the President, the question as to the representation on the Committee shall be determined by the Senate.

(4) The Committee may proceed to the despatch of business notwithstanding that all members have not been duly appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(5) The quorum of the Committee shall be three.

(6) The Committee shall have power to appoint sub-committees consisting of three or more of its members, and to refer to any such sub-committee any of the Bills, Acts or other document or information which the committee is empowered to consider. The quorum of a sub-committee shall be two Senators.

(7) The Committee shall elect a Government member as Chairman.

(8) The Chairman may from time to time appoint a member of the Committee to be Deputy-Chairman and the member so appointed shall act as Chairman of the Committee at any time when there is no Chairman or the Chairman is not present at a meeting of the Committee.

(9) In the event of an equality of voting, the Chairman, or the Deputy-Chairman when acting as Chairman, shall have a casting vote.

(10) The Committee or any sub-committee shall have power to send for and examine persons, papers and records, to move from place to place, and to meet and transact business in public or private session notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives.

(11) The Committee shall be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it.

(12) The Committee shall be empowered to appoint, with the approval of the President, counsel to advise the Committee.

(13) The Committee shall not meet while the Senate is actually sitting, unless by special order of the Senate.

(14) The Committee shall have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken and such recommendations as it may deem fit, and is expected to make regular reports as to the progress of the proceedings of the Committee.

And on the amendment moved thereto by Senator Missen, viz: Leave out all words after ''That'', insert ''Proposed new Standing Order 36AAB, as recommended by the Scrutiny of Bills Committee, be adopted, viz: 36AAB- (1) (a) At the commencement of each Parliament, a Standing Committee of the Senate, to be known as the Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills, shall be appointed to report, in respect of the clauses of Bills introduced into the Senate, and in respect of Acts of the Parliament, whether such Bills or Acts, by express words or otherwise- (i) trespass unduly on personal rights and liberties;

(ii) make rights, liberties and/or obligations unduly dependent upon insufficiently defined administrative powers;

(iii) make such rights, liberties and/or obligations unduly dependent upon non-reviewable decisions;

(iv) inappropriately delegate legislative power; or

(v) insufficiently subject the exercise of legislative power to parliamentary scrutiny.

(b) The Committee, for the purpose of reporting upon the clauses of a Bill when the Bill has been introduced into the Senate, may consider any proposed law or other document or information available to it, notwithstanding that such proposed law, document or information has not been presented to the Senate.

(2) The Committee shall have the power to consider the Minutes of Evidence and records of Standing Committees for the Scrutiny of Bills appointed during previous Sessions.

(3) (a) Unless otherwise ordered, the Committee shall consist of six Senators, three being members of the Government to be nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and three being Senators who are not members of the Government, to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or by any minority group or groups or Independent Senator or Independent Senators.

(b) The nominations of the Opposition or any minority group or groups or Independent Senator or Independent Senators shall be determined by agreement between the Opposition and any minority group or groups or Independent Senator or Independent Senators, and, in the absence of agreement duly notified to the President, the question as to the representation on the Committee shall be determined by the Senate.

(4) The Committee may proceed to the despatch of business notwithstanding that all members have not been duly appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(5) The quorum of the Committee shall be three.

(6) The Committee shall have power to appoint sub-committees consisting of three or more of its members, and to refer to any such sub-committee any of the Bills, Acts or other document or information which the Committee is empowered to consider. The quorum of a sub-committee shall be two Senators.

(7) The Committee shall elect a Government member as Chairman.

(8) The Chairman may from time to time appoint a member of the Committee to be Deputy-Chairman and the member so appointed shall act as Chairman of the Committee at any time when there is no Chairman or the Chairman is not present at a meeting of the Committee.

(9) In the event of an equality of voting, the Chairman, or the Deputy-Chairman when acting as Chairman, shall have a casting vote.

(10) A Senator, though not a member of the Committee, may participate in its public sessions and question witnesses, unless the Committee orders otherwise, but shall not vote.

(11) The Committee or any sub-committee shall have power to send for and examine persons, papers and records, to move from place to place, and to meet and transact business in public or private session and notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives.

(12) Unless otherwise ordered by the Senate, all records and all documents received by the Committee shall remain in the custody of the Senate.

(13) Members of the public and representatives of the news media may attend and report any public session of the Committee unless the Committee otherwise orders.

(14) The Committee shall be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it. A daily Hansard shall be published of such proceedings of the Committee as take place in public.

(15) The Committee shall be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and shall be empowered to appoint Counsel to advise the Committee, and other persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the Committee, with the approval of the President.

(16) The Committee shall not meet while the Senate is actually sitting, unless by special order of the Senate.

(17) The Committee shall have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken and such recommendations as it may deem fit, and is expected to make regular reports as to the progress of the proceedings of the Committee.

(18) The Committee may authorise the televising of public hearings of the Committee, at the discretion of the Committee, and under such rules as the Senate may adopt.''.

Ordered-That further consideration of Item 2 be postponed.

Item 3 (Access to Senate Documents)- Senator Robertson moved-That the Resolution contained in Attachment C of the Report be adopted, viz: (1) That, unless otherwise ordered, the Senate authorises the President to permit any person to examine and copy evidence submitted to, or documents of committees, which are in the custody of the Senate, which have not already been published by the Senate or its committees, and which have been in the Senate's custody for at least ten years: provided that if such evidence or documents were taken in camera or submitted on a confidential or restricted basis, disclosure shall not take place unless the evidence or documents have been in the custody of the Senate for at least 30 years, and, in the opinion of the President, it is appropriate that such evidence or documents be disclosed:

provided further that the President report to the Senate the nature of any evidence or documents made available under this Resolution and the person or persons to whom they have been made available.

(2) That the disclosure of evidence or documents of joint committees be authorised by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives under the same conditions as are provided in paragraph (1).

(3) That the foregoing Resolution have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Standing Orders.

(4) That a Message be sent to the House of Representatives, transmitting this Resolution for its information, and seeking concurrence in that part of the Resolution relating to the evidence and documents of joint committees.

Debate ensued.

Question-put and passed.

Item 4 (Standing Order 406-Reading of Speeches)- Senator Robertson moved-That the following amendment to Standing Order 406 be agreed to, viz: At end of Standing Order 406, add '': Provided that this Standing Order shall not apply to a Senator when that Senator is

(a) moving a motion for the second reading of any Bill or speaking to such a motion as first speaker for the Opposition or a minority group;

(b) making a Ministerial statement or a statement on behalf of a Committee;

(c) making a response to a statement referred to in paragraph (b), as first speaker for the Opposition or a minority group; or

(d) speaking as first speaker on any matter of public importance or moving a motion to debate a matter of urgency, pursuant to Standing Order 64.

Debate ensued.

Senator Macklin, by leave, moved the following amendments together: Paragraph (a), leave out all words after ''Bill''.

Paragraphs (c) and (d), leave out the paragraphs.

Debate ensued.

Amendments, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Senator Macklin moved-That the proposed amendment to Standing Order 406, as set out in Attachment D of the Report, be referred back to the Standing Orders Committee for further consideration.

Debate ensued.

Question-put and passed.

Resolutions to be reported.

The Deputy-President (Senator Hamer) resumed the Chair; and the Temporary Chairman of Committees (Senator Coleman) reported that the Committee had considered the First Report of the Standing Orders Committee for the 61st Session and had resolved that- (1) The recommendations contained in paragraph 4 of the Report be adopted.

(2) The resolution contained in Attachment C of the Report be adopted.

(3) The proposed amendment to Standing Order 406, as set out in Attachment D of the Report, be referred back to the Standing Orders Committee for further consideration.

(4) Further consideration of Item 2 be postponed.

On the motion of Senator Robertson the Report from the Committee of the Whole was adopted and the Committee was granted leave to sit on the next day of sitting to consider postponed Item 2.

And it being 10.30 p.m.-