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Standing Orders - Senate Standing Committee - Reports of the Fifty-ninth Session - Third

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The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia


Third Report for 59th Session

May 1978

Brought up and ordered to be printed 30 May 1978

Parliamentary Paper No. 21/1978

STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE Members The President (Senator the Honourable Condor L. Laucke) The Chairman of Committees (Senator the Honourable T. C. Drake-Brockman,

D.P. C.) Senator P. E. Baume Senator W. W. C. Brown Senator F. M. Chaney Senator R. E. McAuliffe Senator the Honourable Douglas McClelland Senator Justin O'Byrne Senator P. E. Rae Senator the Honourable J. J. Webster Senator the Right Honourable R. G. Withers Senator the Honourable K. S. Wriedt


1. Standing Order 36AA (Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees) and Standing Order 36AB (Estimates Committees) were adopted in 1977 and provide inter alia that, unless otherwise ordered, each Committee shall consist of six Senators, three being members of the Government nominated by the Leader of the Government

in the Senate, and three being Senators who are not members of the Government, to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or by an Independent Senator. It is further provided that particular Committees in respect of which the Opposition or an ,Independent make nominations shall be determined by agreement between the Opposition and the Independents, and, in the absence of agreement duly notified to the President, the question as to the representation on any particular

Committee shall be determined by the Senate. 2. It will be seen that, while reference is made in Standing Orders 36AA and 36AB to Independents, there is no reference to any minority group or groups; whereas, prior to the adoption of these Standing Orders in 1977, on occasions when there

were minority groups, the Sessional Orders upon which the Committees were founded included references to them. To include Independents and minority groups, it is recommended that Standing Order 36AA (4) (a) and (5) and Standing Order 36AB (3) and ( 4) be amended by leaving out, wherever occurring, reference to 'Independent

Senator' or 'Independents' and inserting 'any minority group or groups or Independent Senator or Independent Senators'. 3. So far as Joint Committees are concerned, if any resolution for appointment of a Joint Committee does not contain specific provision for independent or minority group representation, it is always open to any Senator to move an amendment to

provide for such representation, as happened in 1967 when an amendment was agreed to adding to the membership of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence one Senator appointed by the Leader of a minority group (the Australian Democratic Labor Party). This procedure, however, is not a matter which requires amendment of the Standing Orders, as such Joint Committees are not established under specific

orders. 4. Other Standing Committees (for example, the Standing Orders Committee) and Select Committees are appointed by resolution, pursuant to Standing Orders. On motion to appoint Senators to such Committees, any Senator may demand a

ballot, as happened in 1958 and 1959 when a Senator demanded a ballot for the Library Committee and successfully nominated a minority group Senator. In addition, the number of Senators to serve on a Committee can always be varied by resolution of the Senate.

5. The Standing Orders Committee will continue its study of the general question of participation of Independents and minority groups on Committees, and related matters. At this stage, the Committee's specific recommendation is an amendment to Standing Orders 36AA and 36AB relating to the Legislative and General Purpose

Standing Committees and the Estimates Committees-see paragraph 2.


President of the Senate and

Chairman of the Standing Orders Committee

Printed by Authority by the Commonwealth Government Printer, Canberra 1978

H & I-(R78/20) Cat. No. 78 7703 3 Recommended retail price SOc