Chapter 16 - Committees

Appropriations and Staffing Committee

Standing order 19 provides for the appointment of a Standing Committee on Appropriations and Staffing whose role is to inquire into:

  1. proposals for the annual estimates and the additional estimates for the Senate;

  2. proposals to vary the staff structure of the Senate, and staffing and recruitment policies; and

  3. such other matters as are referred to it by the Senate.

The committee is responsible for determining the amounts for inclusion in the parliamentary appropriation bills for the annual and additional appropriations for the Senate and for reporting to the Senate on its determinations prior to the Senate’s consideration of the relevant parliamentary appropriation bill. In relation to staffing, the committee is responsible for making recommendations to the President and reporting to the Senate on any matter. It is required to make an annual report to the Senate on the operations of the Senate’s appropriations and staffing and related matters. The committee also oversees the funding and administration of security measures affecting the Senate.

The President, the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate are ex officio members of the committee. The Leader of the Government in the Senate may nominate another Senate minister as a representative, thereby ensuring that the government retains a presence on the committee to represent its views. The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate may also nominate a representative. There are six other members, three nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate and three nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or by any minority groups or independent senators. Originally, the committee had seven members but the number was increased to nine when the committee was re-established in May 1983 (11/5/1983, J.80).

The President is the committee’s chair and has the power to appoint a deputy chair from time to time. The chair, and deputy chair when acting as chair, has a casting vote when the votes are equally divided (SO 19(7)). Senators who are not members of the committee may attend and participate in its deliberations and question witnesses but may not vote (SO 19(8)).

Unlike the other domestic standing committees, the Appropriations and Staffing Committee has power to appoint subcommittees (SO 19(5)). Like the Committee of Privileges, it also has power to summon witnesses and to require the production of documents.

See also Chapter 5, Officers of the Senate: Parliamentary Administration, under Senate’s appropriations and staffing, and Chapter 13, Financial Legislation, under Parliamentary appropriations.

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