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Wednesday, 11 September 1985
Page: 487

Senator TATE —by leave-I table a paper, Operation of the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills 1981-85, which I presented to the conference of the Australasian Study of Parliament Group on The Legislative Process: How Relevant, held in Adelaide on 31 August this year. I seek leave to move a motion.

Leave granted.

Senator TATE —I move:

That the paper be printed.

Ordinarily a paper of this character would go to the Standing Committee on Publications for consideration as to whether it should be printed. On this occasion, however, the members of the Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills thought it desirable that this paper be made available in printed form at the earliest opportunity. The Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills has now been in existence for over 3 1/2 years, and it has become apparent to the members of the Committee that there is a need for a readily available statement on the Committee's mode of operation and its interpretation of its terms of reference. It is hoped that the publication of this paper will enable the public, parliamentarians and those officers of executive departments who are responsible for the preparation of legislation to become better informed about the Committee's activities.

I mention only one statistic. In the course of its deliberations during its 3 1/2 years of operation the Committee has commented on and alerted the Senate to some 550 clauses. I think that will be indication enough of the diligent and assiduous work that has gone into the preparation of its alert digests and reports. I believe that the existence of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee has enhanced the reputation of the Senate as a watch-dog and defender of the civil liberties of all Australians. Indeed, its operations provide a model for other parliaments within our Federal system. I believe that it has proved to be a constructive force for the improvement of the quality of legislation passing through Australia's Federal Parliament. It is in that sense that I commend the paper to the Senate.

Question resolved in the affirmative.