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Wednesday, 16 May 1973
Page: 2217

Mr BRYANT (Wills) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) - I move:

(1)   That a Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs be appointed to inquire into and report on matters referred to it by resolution of the House, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs or by motion of the committee within the following terms:

(a)   to consult with Aboriginal and Island people on policies and programs for their advancement;

(b)   to examine the present situation of Aboriginal and Island people, recommend policies for improvements; and

(c)   evaluate the effect of policies and programs on

Aboriginal and Island people.

(2)   That the committee recognise the responsibility of the States in these matters and seek their cooperation in all relevant aspects.

(3)   That the committee consist of 9 members, 5 to be nominated by the Prime Minister, 3 to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition and one to be nominated by the Leader of the Australian Country Party.

(4)   That every nomination of a member of the committte be forthwith notified in writing to the sneaker.

(5)   That the committee elect as Chairman of the committee one of the members nominated by the Prime Minister.

(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 lo appoint subcommittees consisting of 3 or more of its members, and refer to any such sub-committee any matter which the committee is empowered to examine.

(8)   That 5 members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee, and a majority of a subcommittee constitute a quorum of that subcommittee.

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

(10)   Thai the committee have power to authorise publication of any evidence given before it and any document presented to it.

(11)   That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and have power, wilh the approval of the Speaker, to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee.

(12)   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.

(13)   That the committee shall be empowered to confer with a similar committee of the Senate.

(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.

This motion is in line with the Australian Labor Party's policy understanding that it would establish a Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs. We hope that the Committee will be an effective instrument for contacting the Aboriginal people and making their voice heard. The resolution makes ample provision for the Committee to work on its own motion or to carry out investigations as requested by the House or by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. As far as I and my Party are concerned, the establishment of this Committee is part of the mobilisation of parliamentary talents of which there is a very large quantity in this House. I hope that the Aboriginal people will derive great advantage from the deliberations of the Committee.

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