Chapter 5 - Standing and select committees

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Standing Orders

Standing committees

17 Procedure

(1) A Procedure Committee, consisting of the President, the Deputy President, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and 6 senators, shall be appointed at the commencement of each Parliament, with power to act during recess and to confer with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.

(2) If the Leader of the Government in the Senate or the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate is unable to attend a meeting of the committee, that senator may appoint a senator to act as a member of the committee at that meeting.

(3) The committee may consider any matter relating to the procedures of the Senate referred to it by the Senate or by the President.

(4) The Deputy President shall be the chair of the committee.

(amended 24 August 1994)

18 Privileges

(1) A Committee of Privileges, consisting of 8 senators, shall be appointed at the commencement of each Parliament to inquire into and report upon matters of privilege referred to it by the Senate.

(2) The committee shall have power to send for persons and documents, to move from place to place and to sit during recess.

(3) The committee shall consist of 8 senators, 4 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and 1 nominated by a minority party and independent senators.

(4) The committee shall elect as its chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

(amended 24 August 1994, 2 December 2013)

19 Appropriations and Staffing

(1) A Standing Committee on Appropriations and Staffing shall be appointed at the commencement of each Parliament.

(2) The committee shall inquire into:

(a) proposals for the annual estimates and the additional estimates for the Senate;

(b) proposals to vary the staff structure of the Senate, and staffing and recruitment policies; and

(c) such other matters as are referred to it by the Senate.

(3) The committee shall:

(a) in relation to the estimates––

(i) determine the amounts for inclusion in the parliamentary appropriation bills for the annual and the additional appropriations, and

(ii) report to the Senate upon its determinations prior to the consideration by the Senate of the relevant parliamentary appropriation bill;

(b) in relation to staffing––

(i) make recommendations to the President, and

(ii) report to the Senate on any matter;

(c) make an annual report to the Senate on the operations of the Senate’s appropriations and staffing, and related matters;

(d) consider the administration and funding of security measures affecting the Senate and advise the President and the Senate as appropriate; and

(e) when conferring with a similar committee of the House of Representatives, consider the administration and funding of information and communications technology services for the Parliament, and advise the President and the Senate as appropriate.

(4) The committee shall consist of the President and 8 other senators: the Leader of the Government in the Senate or a Senate minister nominated to represent the Leader of the Government in the Senate from time to time, and 3 other members of the government party nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or a senator nominated to represent the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate from time to time, and 3 other senators not being members of the government party, nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or by any minority groups or independent senators; and in the absence of agreement between the opposition and any minority groups or independent senators as to nominations, any question as to representation shall be determined by the Senate.

(5) The committee shall have power to appoint sub-committees consisting of 3 or more of its members, and to refer to any such sub-committee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to consider.

(6) The chair of the committee shall be the President, who may from time to time appoint another member of the committee to be deputy chair, who shall act as chair at any time when there is no chair or the chair is not present at a meeting of the committee.

(7) Where the votes on any question before the committee are equally divided, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, shall have a casting vote.

(8) A senator not a member of the committee may attend and participate in its deliberations, and question witnesses, unless the committee orders otherwise, but shall not vote.

(9) The committee and any sub-committee shall have power to send for persons and documents, to move from place to place, and to meet and transact business in public or private session and notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives.

(10) For the purposes of paragraph (3)(e), the committee shall have power to confer with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.

(11) A daily Hansard shall be published of public proceedings of the committee.

(12) The committee shall be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources.

(amended 24 August 1994, 16 June 2004, 27 November 2012)

20 Library

(1) A Library Committee, consisting of the President and 6 senators, shall be appointed at the commencement of each Parliament, with power to act during recess, and to confer and sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.

(2) The committee may consider any matter relating to the provision of library services to senators.

(3) The President shall be the chair of the committee.

(amended 24 August 1994)

21 House

(1) A House Committee, consisting of the President, the Deputy President and 5 senators, shall be appointed at the commencement of each Parliament, with power to act during recess, and to confer and sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.

(2) The committee may consider any matter relating to the provision of facilities in Parliament House referred to it by the Senate or by the President.

(3) The President shall be the chair of the committee.

(amended 24 August 1994, 13 November 2002)

22 Publications

(1) A Publications Committee, consisting of 7 senators, shall be appointed at the commencement of each Parliament, with power to act during recess and to confer and sit as a joint committee with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.

(2) All documents presented to the Senate which have not been ordered to be printed by either House of the Parliament shall stand referred to the committee, which shall make recommendations on the printing of documents.

(3) When sitting with a similar committee of the House of Representatives, the committee shall also have power:

(a) to inquire into and report on the printing, publication and distribution of parliamentary and government publications and on such related matters as are referred to it by the relevant minister; and

(b) to send for persons and documents.

(4) The committee shall elect as its chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

(amended 24 August 1994)

22A Senators’ Interests

(1) A Committee of Senators’ Interests shall be appointed at the commencement of each Parliament:

(a) to inquire into and report upon the arrangements made for the compilation, maintenance and accessibility of a Register of Senators’ Interests;

(b) to consider any proposals made by senators and others as to the form and content of the register;

(c) to consider any submissions made in relation to the registering or declaring of interests;

(d) to consider what classes of person, if any, other than senators ought to be required to register and declare their interests; and

(e) to make recommendations upon these and any other matters which are relevant.

(2) (a) The membership of the committee shall as closely as possible reflect the composition of the Senate and, until modified by a subsequent resolution, shall consist of 8 senators, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 4 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and 1 nominated by any minority groups or independent senators.

(b) The nominations of the minority groups or independent senators shall be determined by agreement between the minority groups and independent senators, and, in the absence of agreement duly notified to the President, the question of the representation on the committee shall be determined by the Senate.

(3) The committee shall elect as its chair one of its members nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

(4) The quorum of the committee shall be 3 members.

(5) The chair may from time to time appoint a member of the committee to be deputy chair, and the member so appointed shall act as chair of the committee when there is no chair or the chair is not present at a meeting of the committee.

(6) Where votes on a question before the committee are equally divided, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, shall have a casting vote.

(7) The committee shall have power to send for persons or documents, but shall not exercise that power, nor undertake an investigation of the private interests of any person, except in accordance with a decision agreed to by not less than 3 members of the committee other than the chair.

(8) The committee shall have power to confer with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.

(9) The committee shall, as soon as practicable after 31 December in each year, prepare and table in the Senate a report on its operations during that year, and shall also have power to report from time to time.

(adopted 17 March 1994, amended 24 August 1994)

23 Regulations and Ordinances

(1) A Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances shall be appointed at the commencement of each Parliament.

(2) All regulations, ordinances and other instruments made under the authority of Acts of the Parliament, which are subject to disallowance or disapproval by the Senate and which are of a legislative character, shall stand referred to the committee for consideration and, if necessary, report.

(3) The committee shall scrutinise each instrument to ensure:

(a) that it is in accordance with the statute;

(b) that it does not trespass unduly on personal rights and liberties;

(c) that it does not unduly make the rights and liberties of citizens dependent upon administrative decisions which are not subject to review of their merits by a judicial or other independent tribunal; and

(d) that it does not contain matter more appropriate for parliamentary enactment.

(4) (a) The committee shall consist of 6 senators, 3 being members of the government party nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and 3 being senators who are not members of the government party, nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or by any minority groups or independent senators.

(b) The nominations of the opposition or any minority groups or independent senators shall be determined by agreement between the opposition and the minority groups or independent senators, and, in the absence of agreement duly notified to the President, the question of the representation on the committee shall be determined by the Senate.

(5) The committee shall have power to send for persons and documents, and to sit during recess.

(6) The committee shall elect as chair a member appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

(7) The chair may from time to time appoint a member of the committee to be deputy chair, and the member so appointed shall act as chair of the committee when there is no chair or the chair is not present at a meeting of the committee.

(8) Where votes on a question before the committee are equally divided, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, shall have a casting vote.

(9) The committee may appoint with the approval of the President counsel to advise the committee.

24 Scrutiny of Bills

(1) (a) At the commencement of each Parliament, a Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills shall be appointed to report, in respect of the clauses of bills introduced into the Senate, or the provisions of bills not yet before the Senate, and in respect of Acts of the Parliament, whether such bills or Acts, by express words or otherwise:

(i) trespass unduly on personal rights and liberties;

(ii) make rights, liberties or obligations unduly dependent upon insufficiently defined administrative powers;

(iii) make rights, liberties or obligations unduly dependent upon non-reviewable decisions;

(iv) inappropriately delegate legislative powers; or

(v) insufficiently subject the exercise of legislative power to parliamentary scrutiny.

(b) The committee, for the purpose of reporting on its terms of reference, may consider any proposed law or other document or information available to it, including an exposure draft of proposed legislation, notwithstanding that such proposed law, document or information has not been presented to the Senate.

(c) The committee, for the purpose of reporting on term of reference (a)(iv), shall take into account the extent to which a proposed law relies on delegated legislation and whether a draft of that legislation is available to the Senate at the time the bill is considered.

(2) (a) The committee shall consist of 6 senators, 3 being members of the government party nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and 3 being senators who are not members of the government party, nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or by any minority groups or independent senators.

(b) The nominations of the opposition or any minority groups or independent senators shall be determined by agreement between the opposition and any minority groups or independent senators, and, in the absence of agreement duly notified to the President, the question of the representation on the committee shall be determined by the Senate.

(3) The committee may appoint sub-committees consisting of 3 or more of its members, and refer to any such sub-committee any matters which the committee is empowered to consider.

(4) The committee shall elect as chair a member appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

(5) The committee shall elect as deputy chair a member appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and the member so elected shall act as chair of the committee when there is no chair or the chair is not present at a meeting of the committee.

(6) When votes on a question before the committee are equally divided, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, shall have a casting vote.

(7) The committee and any sub-committee shall have power to send for persons and documents, to move from place to place, and to meet and transact business in public or private session and notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives.

(8) The committee may appoint with the approval of the President counsel to advise the committee.

(8A) The committee shall be empowered to print from day to day any of its documents and evidence. A daily Hansard shall be published of public proceedings of the committee.

(9) The committee may report from time to time its proceedings and evidence and any recommendations, and shall make regular reports of the progress of the proceedings of the committee.

(amended 24 August 1994, 15 July 2014)

24A Selection of Bills

(1) A Selection of Bills Committee shall be appointed at the commencement of each Parliament to consider all bills introduced into the Senate or received from the House of Representatives, except bills which contain no provisions other than provisions appropriating revenue or moneys, and to report––

(a) in respect of each such bill, whether the bill should be referred to a legislative and general purpose standing committee; and

(b) in respect of each bill recommended for referral to a standing committee:

(i) the standing committee to which the bill should be referred,

(ii) the stage in the consideration of the bill at which it should be referred to the standing committee, and

(iii) the day which should be fixed for the standing committee to report on the bill.

(2) (a) The committee shall consist of the Government Whip and 2 other senators nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Opposition Whip and 2 other senators nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and the whips of any minority groups.

(b) The quorum of the committee shall be 4 members.

(c) The chair of the committee shall be the Government Whip, and the chair shall appoint from time to time a deputy chair to act as chair when the chair is not present at a meeting.

(d) In the event of votes on a question before the committee being equally divided, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, shall have a casting vote.

(3) Where the committee reports on any sitting day, the report shall be presented after the giving of notices of motion.

(4) Following the presentation of a report by the committee, the chair of the committee, or a member of the committee on behalf of the chair, may move without notice a motion for the adoption of the report.

(5) Amendments may be moved to a motion under paragraph (4), including amendments to refer to a standing committee any bill of the kind referred to in paragraph (1) which is not the subject of a motion moved pursuant to paragraph (4).

(6) An amendment of the kind referred to in paragraph (5) shall specify––

(a) the standing committee to which the bill is to be referred;

(b) the stage in the consideration of the bill at which it is to be referred to the committee; and

(c) the day on which the committee is to report.

(7) On a motion moved pursuant to paragraph (4), a senator shall not speak for more than 5 minutes, and at the expiration of 30 minutes, if the debate be not sooner concluded, the President shall put the question on the motion and any amendments before the chair, but if a senator wishes to move a further amendment at that time, that amendment may be moved and shall be determined without debate.

(8) Where a motion moved pursuant to paragraph (4) is agreed to with or without amendment, at the conclusion of the stage of the consideration of a bill referred to in the report adopted by that motion or in an amendment, the bill shall stand referred to the standing committee specified, and the further consideration of the bill shall be an order of the day for the day fixed for the presentation of the report of the standing committee.

(9) In considering a bill referred to it pursuant to this standing order, a standing committee shall have no power to make amendments to the bill or requests for amendments, but may recommend amendments or requests for amendments which would be in order if proposed in a committee of the whole.

(10) A report from a standing committee relating to a bill referred to it under this order shall be received by the Senate without debate, and consideration of the report deferred until the order of the day relating to the bill is called on.

(11) Where:

(a) the committee recommends that a bill be referred to a select committee; or

(b) a senator indicates that the senator intends to move to establish a select committee to consider a bill or to refer a bill to an existing select committee,

this standing order shall have effect as if each reference to a standing committee included reference to a select committee.

(adopted 13 February 1997)

25 Legislative and general purpose

(1) At the commencement of each Parliament, legislative and general purpose standing committees shall be appointed, as follows:

Community Affairs

Legislation Committee

References Committee

Economics

Legislation Committee

References Committee

Education and Employment

Legislation Committee

References Committee

Environment and Communications

Legislation Committee

References Committee

Finance and Public Administration

Legislation Committee

References Committee

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Legislation Committee

References Committee

Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Legislation Committee

References Committee

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport

Legislation Committee

References Committee.

(2) (a) The legislation committees shall inquire into and report upon estimates of expenditure in accordance with standing order 26, bills or draft bills referred to them by the Senate, annual reports in accordance with paragraph (20), and the performance of departments and agencies allocated to them.

(b) The references committees shall inquire into and report upon other matters referred to them by the Senate.

(2A) The legislation committees, when examining bills or draft bills, shall take into account any comments on the bills published by the Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills.

 

(3) References concerning departments and agencies shall be allocated to the committees in accordance with a resolution of the Senate allocating departments and agencies to the committees.

(4) The committees shall inquire into and report upon matters referred to their predecessor committees appointed under this standing order and not disposed of by those committees, and in considering those matters may consider the evidence and records of those committees relating to those matters.

(5) (a) Each legislation committee shall consist of 6 senators, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 2 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and one nominated by minority groups and independent senators.

(b) Each references committee shall consist of 6 senators, 2 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and one nominated by minority groups and independent senators.

(6) (a) The committees to which minority groups and independent senators make nominations shall be determined by agreement between the minority groups and independent senators, and, in the absence of agreement duly notified to the President, any question of the representation on a committee shall be determined by the Senate.

(b) The allocation of places on the committees amongst minority groups and independent senators shall be as nearly as practicable proportional to the numbers of those minority groups and independent senators in the Senate.

(7) (a) Senators may be appointed to the committees as substitutes for members of the committees in respect of particular matters before the committees.

(b) On the nominations of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and minority groups and independent senators, participating members may be appointed to the committees.

(c) Participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committees, and have all the rights of members of committees, but may not vote on any questions before the committees.

(d) A participating member shall be taken to be a member of a committee for the purpose of forming a quorum of the committee if a majority of members of the committee is not present.

(e) If a member of a committee is unable to attend a meeting of the committee, that member may in writing to the chair of the committee appoint a participating member to act as a substitute member of the committee at that meeting. If the member is incapacitated or unavailable, a letter to the chair of a committee appointing a participating member to act as a substitute member of the committee may be signed on behalf of the member by the leader of the party or group on whose nomination the member was appointed to the committee.

(8) A committee may appoint sub-committees consisting of 3 or more of its members, and refer to any such sub-committee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to consider.

(9) (a) Each legislation committee shall elect as its chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and as its deputy chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or by a minority group or independent senator.

(b) Each references committee shall elect as its chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or a member of a minority group in the Senate, and as its deputy chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

(c) The chairs and deputy chairs to which members nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and members of minority groups and independent senators are elected shall be determined by agreement between the opposition and minority groups and independent senators, and, in the absence of agreement duly notified to the President, any question of the allocation of chairs and deputy chairs shall be determined by the Senate.

(d) The deputy chair shall act as the chair of the committee when the member elected as chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.

(e) When votes on a question before a committee are equally divided, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, shall have a casting vote.

(f) The chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, may appoint another member of a committee to act as chair during the temporary absence of both the chair and deputy chair at a meeting of the committee.

(10) The chairs of the committees, together with the chairs of any select committees appointed by the Senate, shall constitute the Chairs’ Committee, which may meet with the Deputy President in the chair, and may consider and report to the Senate on any matter relating to the operations of the committees.

(11) Except as otherwise provided by the standing orders, the reference of a matter to a committee shall be on motion after notice, and such notice of motion may be given:

(a) in the usual manner when notices are given; or

(b) at any other time by a senator:

(i) stating its terms to the Senate, when no other business is before the chair, or

(ii) delivering a copy to the Clerk, who shall report it to the Senate at the first opportunity;

and shall be placed on the Notice Paper for the next sitting day as business of the Senate and, as such, shall take precedence of government and general business set down for that day.

(12) Matters referred to the committees should relate to subjects which can be dealt with expeditiously.

(13) A committee shall take care not to inquire into any matters which are being examined by a select committee of the Senate appointed to inquire into such matters and any question arising in this connection may be referred to the Senate for determination.

(14) A committee and any sub-committee shall have power to send for persons and documents, to move from place to place, and to meet and transact business in public or private session and notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives.

(15) All documents received by a committee during an inquiry shall remain in the custody of the Senate after the completion of that inquiry.

(16) A committee shall be empowered to print from day to day any of its documents and evidence. A daily Hansard shall be published of public proceedings of a committee.

(17) A committee shall be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and shall be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee, with the approval of the President.

(18) A committee may report from time to time its proceedings and evidence taken and any recommendations, and shall make regular reports on the progress of its proceedings.

(19) A committee may authorise the broadcasting of its public hearings, under such rules as the Senate provides.

(20) Annual reports of departments and agencies shall stand referred to the legislation committees in accordance with an allocation of departments and agencies in a resolution of the Senate. Each committee shall:

(a) Examine each annual report referred to it and report to the Senate whether the report is apparently satisfactory.

(b) Consider in more detail, and report to the Senate on, each annual report which is not apparently satisfactory, and on the other annual reports which it selects for more detailed consideration.

(c) Investigate and report to the Senate on any lateness in the presentation of annual reports.

(d) In considering an annual report, take into account any relevant remarks about the report made in debate in the Senate.

(e) If the committee so determines, consider annual reports of departments and budget-related agencies in conjunction with examination of estimates.

(f) Report on annual reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year, and on annual reports tabled by 30 April each year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year.

(g) Draw to the attention of the Senate any significant matters relating to the operations and performance of the bodies furnishing the annual reports.

(h) Report to the Senate each year whether there are any bodies which do not present annual reports to the Senate and which should present such reports.

(amended 24 August 1994, 13 February 1997, 11 November 1998, 3 December 1998, 13 February 2002, 19 November 2002, 14 August 2006: with effect from 11 September 2006, 13 May 2009: with effect on 14 May 2009, 29 September 2010, 8 February 2012, 13 November 2013, 15 July 2014)

26 Estimates

(1) Annual and additional estimates, contained in the documents presenting the particulars of proposed expenditure and additional expenditure, shall be referred to the legislative and general purpose standing committees for examination and report.

(2) The committees shall hear evidence on the estimates in public session.

(3) Not more than 4 committees shall hear evidence on the estimates simultaneously.

(4) When a committee hears evidence on the estimates, the chair shall, without motion, call on items of expenditure in the order decided upon and declare the proposed expenditure open for examination. If a senator has further explanations to seek, items of expenditure shall not be closed for examination unless the senator has agreed to submit written questions or the committee has agreed to schedule additional hearings for that purpose.

(5) The committees may ask for explanations from ministers in the Senate, or officers, relating to the items of proposed expenditure.

(6) The report of a committee on the estimates may propose the further consideration of any items.

(7) A Hansard report of the committees’ hearings of evidence on the estimates shall be circulated, in a manner similar to the daily Senate Hansards, as soon as practicable after each day’s proceedings.

(8) Participating membership of committees shall not have effect in respect of proceedings on estimates, other than the formation of a quorum, but any senator may attend a meeting of a committee in relation to estimates, question witnesses and participate in the deliberations of the committee at such a meeting and add a reservation to a report relating to estimates.

(9) After a committee has considered proposed expenditure referred to it by the Senate and agreed to its report to the Senate, the committee shall fix:

(a) a day for the submission to the committee of any written answers or additional information relating to the proposed expenditure; and

(b) in respect of the annual estimates only, a day for the commencement of supplementary meetings of the committee to consider matters relating to the proposed expenditure.

The day fixed under subparagraph (9)(b) shall be not less than 10 days after the day fixed under subparagraph (9)(a).

(10) A senator may lodge with a committee, not less than 3 working days before the day fixed under subparagraph (9)(b), notice of matters, relating to the written answers or additional information, or otherwise relating to the proposed expenditure referred to the committee, which the senator wishes to raise at the supplementary meetings of the committee. A notice shall be forwarded by the committee to the minister in the Senate responsible for the matters to which the notice relates.

(11) A committee may determine at any time the number and duration of any supplementary meetings.

(12) At a supplementary meeting, questions may be put to ministers or officers relating to matters of which notice has been given, and the proceedings of the committee shall be confined to those matters, but the committee shall otherwise conduct the proceedings in accordance with this standing order.

(13) A committee may report to the Senate any recommendation for further action by the Senate arising from the committee’s supplementary meetings.

(14) Written questions relating to the estimates may be supplied to the secretaries of the committees, who shall distribute them to the relevant departments and to members of the committees. Answers shall be supplied to, and circulated by, the secretaries.

(amended 24 August 1994, 13 February 1997, 6 March 1997, 6 February 2001, 19 November 2002, 14 August 2006: with effect from 11 September 2006, 25 June 2014)

General committee provisions

27 Membership

(1) Except as otherwise provided, the senators to serve on a committee shall be nominated by the mover, and if one senator so requires, they shall be selected by ballot.

(2) A senator may be discharged from attending a committee and another senator appointed, either by nomination or ballot, after notice.

(3) The President shall not be elected to any committee other than one of which the President is an ex officio member.

(4) If the Deputy President is elected to serve on a committee and declines to do so, another senator shall be elected.

(5) A senator shall not sit on a committee if the senator has a conflict of interest in relation to the inquiry of the committee.

(6) Where a committee is empowered to appoint sub-committees, each sub-committee shall have at least one member appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate and at least one member appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

(amended 13 February 1997)

28 Time for reporting

On the appointment of every committee other than a standing committee a day shall be fixed for the reporting of its proceedings to the Senate, by which day the final report of the committee shall be presented by the chair, unless further time is moved for and granted.

29 Quorum

(1) In each committee and sub-committee, unless otherwise provided, a quorum shall be:

(a) a majority of the members of the committee or sub-committee; or

(b) 2 members, where one member present was appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate and one member present was appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

(2) If a senator draws attention to the lack of a quorum at a meeting of a committee, the proceedings shall be suspended until a quorum is present, or, if a quorum is not present after 15 minutes, the committee shall then be adjourned.

(3) If within 15 minutes after the time appointed for the meeting of a committee there is not a quorum, the senators present may retire, after entering their names in the minutes; and the secretary attending the committee shall convene a meeting for another time.

(amended 24 August 1994, 19 November 2002)

30 Meetings

(1) The mover of a committee, if a member of it, shall fix the time for the first meeting of the committee; if the mover is not a member the secretary shall fix the time.

(2) Notice of meetings subsequent to the first meeting shall be given by the secretary attending the committee:

(a) pursuant to resolution of the committee;

(b) on instruction of the chair; or

(c) upon a request by a quorum of members of the committee.

(3) A committee is authorised to hold meetings by electronic communication without the members of the committee or witnesses being present in one place, provided that:

(a) when a committee deliberates, members of the committee constituting a quorum are able to speak to, and hear, each other contemporaneously;

(b) when a witness gives oral evidence, members of the committee constituting a quorum are able to hear the witness contemporaneously and to put questions to the witness in each other’s hearing; and

(c) the chair of such a meeting takes care to ensure that a quorum is maintained during the meeting and that the standing orders and rules of the Senate are observed.

(amended 13 February 1997)

31 Chair

A committee, before transacting any business, shall elect one of its members to be chair, who, unless it is otherwise provided, shall have a deliberative vote only.

32 Proceedings

(1) Unless it is otherwise provided, when the votes on any question before a committee are equally divided the question shall be negatived.

(2) An entry shall be made in the minutes of proceedings of the names of the senators attending each committee meeting, of every motion or amendment proposed in the committee and the mover, and the names and votes of the senators voting in any division.

(3) A committee may adjourn from time to time, and, by order of the Senate, from place to place, and may sit on those days over which the Senate is adjourned.

33 Meetings during sitting

(1) A committee of the Senate and a joint committee of both Houses of the Parliament may meet during sittings of the Senate for the purpose of deliberating in private session, but shall not make a decision at such a meeting unless:

(a) all members of the committee are present; or

(b) a member appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate and a member appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate are present, and the decision is agreed to unanimously by the members present.

(2) The restrictions on meetings of committees contained in paragraph (1) do not apply after the question for the adjournment of the Senate has been proposed by the President at the time provided on any day.

(3) A committee shall not otherwise meet during sittings of the Senate except by order of the Senate.

(4) Proceedings of a committee at a meeting contrary to this standing order shall be void.

(amended 24 August 1994, 14 May 2003)

34 Powers

(1) The Senate may give a committee power to send for persons and documents, and a committee with that power may summon witnesses and require the production of documents.

(2) The chair of a committee shall direct the secretary attending the committee to invite or summon witnesses and request or require the production of documents in accordance with the orders of the committee.

35 Witnesses

(1) The examination of witnesses before a committee shall be conducted by the members of the committee in accordance with procedures agreed to by the committee, subject to the rules of the Senate.

(2) The examination of witnesses shall be recorded in a transcript of evidence.

36 Public and private meetings

Persons other than members and officers of a committee may attend a public meeting of a committee but shall not attend a private meeting except by express invitation of the committee, and shall always be excluded when the committee is deliberating.

37 Disclosure of evidence and documents

(1) The evidence taken by a committee and documents presented to it, which have not been reported to the Senate, shall not, unless authorised by the Senate or the committee, be disclosed to any person other than a member or officer of the committee.

(2) A senator who wishes to refer to in camera evidence or unpublished committee documents in a dissenting report shall advise the committee of the evidence or documents concerned, and all reasonable effort shall be made by the committee to reach agreement on the disclosure of the evidence or documents for that purpose. If agreement is not reached, the senator may refer to the in camera evidence or unpublished documents in the dissent only to the extent necessary to support the reasoning of the dissent. Witnesses who gave the evidence or provided the documents in question shall, if practicable, be informed in advance of the proposed disclosure of the evidence or documents and shall be given reasonable opportunity to object to the disclosure and to ask that particular parts of the evidence or documents not be disclosed. The committee shall give careful consideration to any objection by a witness before making its decision. Consideration shall be given to disclosing the evidence or documents in such a way as to conceal the identity of persons who gave the evidence or provided the documents or who are referred to in the evidence or documents.

(3) (a) The President is authorised to permit any person to examine and copy evidence submitted to, or documents of, committees, which are in the custody of the Senate, which have not already been published by the Senate or its committees, and which have been in the Senate’s custody for at least 10 years.

(b) If such evidence or documents were taken in camera or submitted on a confidential or restricted basis, disclosure shall not take place unless the evidence or documents have been in the custody of the Senate for at least 30 years, and, in the opinion of the President, it is appropriate that such evidence or documents be disclosed.

(c) The President shall report to the Senate the nature of any evidence or documents made available under this standing order and the person or persons to whom they have been made available.

(amended 13 February 1997, 29 April 1999)

38 Reports

(1) The chair of a committee shall prepare a draft report and submit it to the committee.

(2) After a draft report has been considered and agreed to by a committee, with or without amendment, a minority or dissenting report may be added to the report by any member or group of members, and any member or participating member may attach to the report relevant conclusions and recommendations of that member.

(3) If any senator other than the chair submits a draft report to a committee, the committee shall first decide upon which report it will proceed.

(4) After a draft report has been considered the whole or any part of it may be reconsidered and amended.

(5) A report of a committee shall be signed and presented to the Senate by the chair.

(6) By order of the Senate a committee may report from time to time its proceedings or evidence.

(7) 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 Chairs of Committees, and, on the provision of the report:

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

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

(c) the President, the Deputy President, or the Temporary Chair of Committees, 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.

(amended 24 August 1994, 13 February 1997)

39 Proceedings on report

(1) Subject to standing order 62(4), on the presentation of a report of a committee no discussion shall take place, but the report and any documents accompanying it may be ordered to be printed.

(2) Any proceeding on a report of a committee shall be by motion after notice.

40 Meetings with House of Representatives committees

(1) A committee may not confer or sit with a committee of the House of Representatives except by order of the Senate.

(2) When such an order has been made, it shall be communicated by message to the House of Representatives with a request that leave be given to the committee of that House to confer or sit with the committee of the Senate.

(3) A committee permitted or directed to confer with a committee of the House of Representatives may confer by writing or orally.

(4) Proceedings of a conference or joint sitting of a committee of the Senate and a committee of the House of Representatives shall be reported to the Senate by its committee.

41 List of committees

Lists of all committees, of the matters referred to them and of their reports shall be published in the Notice Paper.

42 Joint committees

(1) A proposal for a joint committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives agreed to by the Senate shall be forwarded to the House of Representatives by message.

(2) The proceedings of a joint committee shall be reported to the Senate by one of the senators appointed to serve on the committee.

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