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Tuesday, 27 March 1973
Page: 686


Mr ENDERBY (Australian Capital Territory) (Minister for the Capital Territory and Minister for the Northern Territory) - I move:

(1)   That a Joint Committee be appointed to -

(a)   examine and report on all proposals for modifications or variations of the plan of layout of the City of Canberra and its environs published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette on the nineteenth day of November 1925, as previously modified or varied, which are referred to the committee by the Minister for the Capital Territory; and

(b)   examine and report on such other matters relating to the Australian Capital Territory as may be referred to the committee -

(i)   by the Minister for the Capital Territory; or

(ii)   by resolution of either House of the Parliament.

(2)   That the committee consist of 3 Members of the House of Representatives nominated by the Prime Minister, one Member of the House of Representatives nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, one Member of the House of Representatives nominated by the Leader of the Australian Country Party in the House of Representatives, 2 Senators nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and 2 Senators nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

(3)   That every nomination of a member of the committee be forthwith notified in writing to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

(4)   That the members of the committee hold office as a joint committee until the House of Representatives expires by dissolution or effluxion of time.

(5)   That the Prime Minister nominate one of the government members of the committee as Chairman.

(6)   That the Chairman of the committee may, from time to time, appoint another member of the committee to be the Deputy Chairman of the committee, and that the member so appointed act as Chairman of the committee at any time when the Chairman is not present at a meeting of the committee.

(7)   That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of 3 or more of its members and to refer to any such sub-committee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to examine.

(8)   That the committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, to move from place to place and to sit during any recess or adjournment of the Parliament.

(9)   That the committee have leave to report from time to time and that any member of the committee have power to add a protest or dissent to any report.

(10)   That 5 members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee, and 2 members of a sub-committee constitute a quorum of that subcommittee.

(11)   That in matters of procedure the Chairman or Deputy Chairman presiding at the meeting have a deliberative vote and, in the event of an equality of voting, have a casting vote, and that, in other matters, the Chairman or Deputy Chairman have a deliberative vote only.

(12)   That the committee have power to consider and make use of the minutes of evidence and records of the Joint Committees on the Australian Capital Territory, appointed in previous Parliaments, relating to any matters which are again referred to the committee.

(13)   That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that all members df the committee have not been appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy on the committee.

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

(15)   That a message be sent to the Senate acquainting it of this resolution and requesting that it concur and take action accordingly.

The Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory has a long and distinguished record of valuable service to the Parliament and to the people of the Australian Capital Territory. The motion seeks to re-establish the

Committee with slight variations. First of all there is the question of membership. Previously the Committee's membership of 9 was made up of 5 senators and 4 members of this House. With the creation of a specific portfolio of the Capital Territory, the Government believes it now more appropriate that the majority membership should be drawn from the House of Representatives. We propose that the 5 members of the House of Representatives should be in the proportion of 3 Government members to 2 nonGovernment members and that the Senate representation be 2 senators from the Government Party and 2 senators from the nonGovernment Parties. The Committee Chairman would be nominated by the Prime Minister. I have notified Party leaders in the Parliament of the proposals I have just outlined. In addition we have included in the motion a provision which would allow either House of Parliament, in addition to the Minister, to make references to the Committee. I believe that this will be a valuable extension of the Parliament's direct involvement in Committee affairs and one which will be welcomed by all honourable members.

Re-establishment of the Committee, we expect, will allow a continuation of important work in hand before the prorogation of the House last year. In particular it is hoped that the Committee will be able to complete the examination of territorial accounts of the Australian Capital Territory, the full title of that inquiry being: An Inquiry into State and Municipal Costs and Revenues in the Australian Capital Territory. This work is important in the process of evolving satisfactory plans for territorial government in the Australian Capital Territory. In the previous Parliament the Joint Committee had already made a good deal of progress with what is inevitably a complex issue. The past work of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory is well known and needs no further elaboration from me on this occasion. As the member for the Australian Capital Territory and as the first Minister for the Capital Territory, I am confident that the Committee will continue to play a valuable role. In both capacities, it gives me great pleasure to commend the motion to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Malcolm Fraser) adjourned.







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