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Tuesday, 17 September 1974
Page: 1158


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - This matter was last before the Senate on 30 July when I, as Manager of Government Business in the Senate, moved that the Senate concur in a resolution sent to it from the House of Representatives relating to the establishment of a joint committee to investigate all aspects of the parliamentary committee system. In moving that motion I suggested that a certain number of members of the House of Representatives from both sides and a certain number of members of the Senate from both sides be appointed to that committee. Senator Withers moved an amendment to that motion and the debate was adjourned so that the Government could give consideration to his amendment. The notice paper at page 319 shows that Senator Withers suggested that the committee consist of 3 members of the House of Representatives nominated by the Prime Minister, 2 members nominated by the Leader of the Opposition and one member nominated by the Leader of the Australian Country Party as well as 3 senators nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 2 senators nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and one senator nominated by the

Leader of the Australian Country Party in the Senate.

The Government has given consideration to that aspect of Senator Withers' amendment and is not prepared to accept it. However, we are prepared to indicate that there could be some form of compromise between the original motion moved by the Government and the amendment moved by Senator Withers. The Government suggests that the proposed joint committee to inquire into and investigate the parliamentary committee system should consist of 4 members of the House of Representatives nominated by the Prime Minister, 2 members nominated by the Leader of the Opposition, one member nominated by the Leader of the Australian Country Party, 3 senators nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 2 senators nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and one senator nominated by the Leader of the Australian Country Party in the Senate. That would mean that there would be 7 members of the committee from the House of Representatives, four coming from the Government side, three from the Opposition side, and an equal number of senators from both sides of this chamber, that is, three from the Government side and three from the Opposition side.


Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson - That would be four to three and three to three.


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - Yes. Four from the Government in the House of Representatives, three from the Opposition in the House of Representatives, three from the Government in the Senate and three from the Opposition in the Senate. The Government believes that to be an amicable working arrangement and I put that suggestion forward. Therefore, by way of amendment to Senator Withers' amendment, I move:

(2)   That the committee consist of 4 members of the House of Representatives nominated by the Prime Minister, 2 members nominated by the Leader of the Opposition, one member nominated by the Leader of the Australian Country Party, 3 senators nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 2 senators nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and one senator nominated by the Leader of the Australian Country Party in the Senate.

The Government does not seek to amend in any way Senator Withers' following amendment to paragraph ( 1 ):

That the committee elect as Deputy Chairman one of the members nominated by the Leader of the Opposition being a member from a different House than the Chairman, and that the member so elected act as Chairman of the committee at any time when the Chairman is not present at a meeting of the committee.

The Government does not see any particular objection to that.







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