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SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS AND STAFFING - 30/05/1997 - Proposed amalgamation of the parliamentary departments - Start of Business

SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS AND STAFFING

<REFERENCE> Proposed amalgamation of the parliamentary departments </REFERENCE>

CANBERRA

Friday, 30 May 1997

Present

The President (Chair)

Senator BourneSenator MacGibbon

Senator FaulknerSenator Robert Ray

The committee met at 9.05 a.m.

The President took the chair.

The PRESIDENT--I declare open this hearing of the Appropriations and Staffing Committee. On 17 March the heads of the parliamentary departments published a report entitled Managing the parliament--the way ahead, which provides an implementation plan for amalgamation of the departments. This follows statements by the Presiding Officers in each of their houses on 5 March 1997 that they had made decisions about the future of the five parliamentary departments.

On 26 March the Senate referred Managing the parliament--the way ahead to this committee for report by 26 June 1997. Under standing order 19(2)(b), the committee is required to inquire into any proposals to vary the staff structure of the Senate. In addition, there was the procedural order agreed to on 3 June 1987 requiring the committee to consider changes to the structure and responsibilities of the parliamentary departments.

Today we are hearing from witnesses who have put in submissions in relation to these proposals so that this committee can then, in accordance with that, report to the Senate.

The committee advertised the inquiry in the Canberra Times and invited relevant organisations and individuals to make submissions to the inquiry. We have received 15 submissions, which have been published.

Today the committee will hear evidence from the Clerk of the Senate, Mr Evans; Dr John Uhr, of the Australian National University; the Secretary to the Departments of the Parliamentary Library and the Parliamentary Reporting Staff, Mr Templeton; officials of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance; officers of the Department of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff; Mr Gary Brown; officials of the Community and Public Service Union; and the Secretary to the Joint House Department, Mr Bolton.

It should also be noted that, in accordance with Senate resolutions, the committee has authorised the broadcasting and rebroadcasting of its proceedings.