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Loan Council affair no 15: Senate Select Committee on the Australian Loan Council

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Peter Reith



The Coalition has announced the appointment of Senators

Jim Short, Richard Alston and Bronwyn Bishop as its

representatives on the Senate Select Committee on the Australian Loan Council.

The Committee, established yesterday by the Senate, will also comprise three Government and one Democrat nominees, giving a total membership of 7. The Committee will elect its own Chairman and Deputy Chairman.

A copy of the Committee's terms of reference is attached

(Attachment A). The inquiry into the Australian Loan Council, to be completed by 1 March 1993, extends to the responsibility of Treasurer John Dawkins, as Chairman, in dealing with breaches of global borrowings limits, including the Victorian Labor Government's breach.

The Committee's terms of reference (paragraph 7) empower it to carry on its activities notwithstanding any prorogation of Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives. This is important in the context of the forthcoming election.

The Committee is empowered to make progress reports on its

inquiry (paragraph 11).

Moreover, a standing resolution of the Senate (Attachment B)also authorises the publication of the Committee's report out of session. Reports published in such circumstances attract Parliamentary privilege.

It is expected that the first meeting of the Committee will be held later this week.

4 November 1992 Canberra

Contact: David Turnbull (06) 277 4277 D186/92



( £ )

(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on the Functions, Powers and Operation of the Australian Loan Council, be appointed to inquire into and report upon the following matters by

1 March 1993:

(a) the functions, powers and operation of the Australian Loan Council in co-ordinating all financial transactions by all Common­ wealth and State bodies, including Government business enterprises, instru­ mentalities and other authorities, which involve a call on the private sector;

(b) the role of all Governments in the Loan Council process, including the provision of information to the council and the advising of other council members on the activities of members; (c) the administration of global borrowing

limits set by the council, in particular, the administration of breaches and possible breaches of those limits;

(d) the responsibility and powers of the federal Treasurer, as Chairman of the Loan Council, in dealing with breaches or possible breaches of the global borrowing limits, particularly as they affect the national economy; and

(e) the powers (and limits of power) of State Premiers and Treasurers to administer borrowing agreements approved by the council and the responsibilities of State

Premiers and Treasurers to notify the council about the borrowing activities of their Governments.

(2) That the committee consist of seven Sena­ tors, as follows:

(a) three nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate; (b) two nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate;

(c) one nominated by the Leader of the National Party of Australia in the Senate; and

(d) one nominated by the Leader of the Australian Democrats.

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

I t

(4) That:

(a) the chairman of the committee be ap­ pointed by and from the members of the committee; (b) the deputy-chairman of the committee be

appointed by and from the members of the committee immediately after the appointment of the chairman; (c) the deputy-chairman act as chairman when there is no chairman or the chair­ man is not present at a meeting; and (d) in the event of the votes on any question before the committee being equally divid­ ed, the chairman, or the deputy-chairman when acting as chairman, have a casting vote.

(5) That a Senator who is not a member of the committee may participate in its public sessions and question witnesses, unless the committee orders otherwise, but shall not


(6) That the quorum of the committee be three members.

(7) 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, notwith­ standing any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representa­


(8) That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of three or more of its members, and to refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to consider, and

that the quorum of a subcommittee be a majority of the Senators appointed to the subcommittee.

(9) 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 Presi­ dent.

(10) 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.

(11) That the committee may report from time to time its proceedings and evidence taken and any interim conclusions and recommendations arising from its inquiry,

and may make regular reports on the progress of its proceedings.

No. 197— 4 November 1992 49

(c) the President, the Deputy-President, or the Temporary Chairman of Committees, as the case may be, may give directions for the printing and circulation of the document; and

(d) the President shall lay the document upon the Table at the next sitting of the Senate. (Agreed to 13 February 1991.)

15 Presentation of committee reports when the Senate is adjourned—Thai, if the Senate is not sitting when a committee has prepared a report for presentation, the committee may provide the report to the President or, if the President is unable to act, to the Deputy-President, or, if the Deputy-

President is unavailable, to any one of the Temporary Chairmen of Committees, and, in that event—

(a) the report shall be deemed to have been presented to the Senate;

(b) the publication of the report is authorised by this resolution;

(c) the President, the Deputy-President, or the Temporary Chairman of Comminees, as the case may be. may give directions for the printing and circulation of the report; and

(d) the President shall lay the report upon the Table at the next sitting of the Senate. (Agreed to 13 February 1991.)

16 O rders of continuing effect—Thai, where the Senate intends that an order have a continuing effect, words along the following lines be included in the order to make that intention clear

This order has effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders and is of continuing effect (Agreed to 13 February 1991.) ,

1? Powers of parliam entary secretaries—

(1) That any Senator appointed a parliamentary secretary under the Parliamentary Secretaries Act I960 may exercise the powers and perform the functions conferred upon ministers by the procedures of the Senate, but may not be asked or answer questions which may be put to ministers under standing order 72(1).

(2) That this order operate as a sessional order. (Agreed to 3 September 1991.)