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CHRISTMAS ISLAND TRAGEDY OF 15 DECEMBER 2010—JOINT SELECT COMMITTEE—APPOINTMENT

A message from the House of Representatives was reported proposing the appointment of a joint select committee, as follows:

 Message no. 94, dated 2 March 2011—Proposed Joint Select Committee on the Christmas Island tragedy of 15 December 2010, and transmitting for the concurrence of the Senate the following resolution:

 (1) that a Joint Select Committee on the Christmas Island tragedy of 15 December 2010 be appointed to inquire into and report on the incident of 15 December 2010 in which an irregular entry vessel foundered on rocks at Rocky Point on Christmas Island, including:

  (a) operational responses of all Commonwealth agencies involved in the response, relevant agency procedures, and inter-agency coordination;

  (b) communication mechanisms, including between Commonwealth and State agencies;

  (c) relevant onshore emergency response capabilities on Christmas Island;

  (d) the after-incident support provided to survivors;

  (e) the after-incident support provided to affected Christmas Island community members, Customs, Defence and other personnel;

  (f) having regard to (a) to (e), the effectiveness of the relevant administrative and operational procedures and arrangements of Commonwealth agencies in relation to the SIEV 221 incident and its management; and

  (g) being mindful of ongoing national security, disruption and law enforcement efforts and the investigations referred to in paragraph (3), to consider appropriate information from the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (including Border Protection Command) to determine, to the extent that it is possible, the likely point of origin of the vessel;

 (2) the Committee should have regard to:

  (a) the findings and recommendations of Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (including Border Protection Command) internal review of actions relating to SIEV 221; and


  (b) the work being undertaken by the Christmas Island Emergency Management Committee;

 (3) the Committee should have regard to and be mindful of independent parallel investigations into the incident including the investigation by the State Coroner of WA and investigations by the Australian Federal Police, and conduct its inquiry accordingly;

 (4) the Committee should report to Parliament and make recommendations to the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice and the Minister for Regional Development (relevant to his responsibilities for Australian Territories);

 (5) the Committee consist of 10 members: 3 Members of the House of Representatives to be nominated by the Government Whip, 2 Members of the House of Representatives to be nominated by the Opposition Whip, 2 Senators to be nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 1 Senator to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, one Senator to be nominated by the Australian Greens, and one Family First Senator;

 (6) 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;

 (7) the members of the Committee hold office as a Joint Select Committee until presentation of the Committee's report or the House of Representatives is dissolved or expires by effluxion of time, whichever is the earlier;

 (8) the Committee elect a Government Member as its Chair;

 (9) the Committee elect a member as its Deputy Chair who shall act as Chair of the Committee at any time when the Chair is not present at a meeting of the Committee, and at any time when the Chair and Deputy Chair are not present at a meeting of the Committee the members present shall elect another member to act as Chair at that meeting;

 (10) in the event of an equally divided vote, the Chair, or the Deputy Chair when acting as Chair, have a casting vote;

 (11) 3 members of the Committee constitute a quorum of the Committee provided that in a deliberative meeting the quorum shall include the Chair of the Committee, 1 Government member of either House and 1 non-Government member of either House;

 (12) the Committee have power to call for witnesses to attend and for documents to be produced;

 (13) the Committee may conduct proceedings at any place it sees fit;

 (14) the Committee have power to adjourn from time to time and to sit during any adjournment of the Senate and the House of Representatives;

 (15) the Committee present its final report no later than 30 June 2011;

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

The Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations (Senator Collins), by leave, moved—That the Senate concurs with the resolution of the House of Representatives contained in message no. 94 relating to the appointment of a joint select committee.

Question put and passed.