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Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Page: 1496

Senator MILNE (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (16:14): I move:

(1) That, a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee into the Abbott Government's Commission of Audit, be established to inquire into the Commission of Audit established by the Commonwealth Government and, in particular, any report of that Commission to the Government, with interim reports as the committee sees fit and a final report on or before 13 May 2014, with particular reference to:

(a) the nature and extent of any cuts or changes to government expenditure recommended by the Commission;

(b) the effect of any proposed cuts or changes on the provision of services, programs or benefits by the Government;

(c) the effect of any proposed cuts or changes on the ability of the public service to provide advice to government;

(d) the effect of any proposed changes to the current split of roles and responsibilities between the Commonwealth Government and state and territory governments on the current levels of government expenditure, taxation and service delivery;

(e) the potential impact of any proposed revenue measures on the Budget and on taxpayers, including access to services like health and education;

(f) the potential impact of any proposed cuts or changes to government expenditure or service provision on employment and the economy;

(g) the consistency of the Commission's recommendations with the Government's commitments on spending on health, medical research, education, and defence spending;

(h) the potential impact of any proposed cuts or changes on the structural budget balance over the forward estimates and the next 10 years;

(i) the potential impact that any proposed changes to Commonwealth budgeting arrangements might have in undermining public confidence in the provision of Commonwealth government accounts;

(j) the potential effects of any proposed cuts or changes on the Government's medium to long term fiscal position, such as reducing future productivity, reducing the tax base and government revenues, or increasing future demand for government programs or support;

(k) whether the Commission's terms of reference are appropriate, and, in particular, whether consideration ought be given to alternative means of:

   (i) improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government expenditure,

   (ii) improving the state of the Commonwealth's finances and addressing medium term risks to the integrity of the budget position,

   (iii) improving the fairness and efficiency of revenue raising, including that businesses cover the full cost of their activities, and that individuals with greater capacity contribute more to government revenue,

   (iv) funding infrastructure and enhancing Australia's human, economic and natural capital, or

   (v) improving the public service; and

(l) any other matters the committee considers relevant.

(2) That the committee consist of 7 senators, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and 1 nominated by the Leader of the Australian Greens.

(3) That:

(a) participating members may be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or any minority party or independent senator; and

(b) participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any questions before the committee.

(4) That 3 members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee.

(5) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(6) That the committee elect as chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Australian Greens and as deputy chair, a member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition.

(7) That the deputy chair shall act as chair when the chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.

(8) That the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, may appoint another member of the committee to act as chair during the temporary absence of both the chair and deputy chair at a meeting of the committee.

(9) That, in the event of an equally divided vote, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, has a casting vote.

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

(11) That the committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings, the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.

(12) That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President.

(13) That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such documents and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.

Question agreed to.