Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 16 - Committees

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Action on committee reports

Where committees recommend action by the Senate, for example, in relation to legislation before the Senate, such recommendations may be, and usually are, swiftly adopted by the Senate. Most recommendations, however, involve new legislation or administrative action by the executive government, and therefore cannot be carried out by the Senate acting alone. Ensuring expeditious and considered government responses to such recommendations is therefore important. Most Senate committee recommendations, if not adopted in the short term, are frequently reflected in public policy in the long term, partly because they often embody the considered views of relevant institutions and persons or of the community as a whole.

Apart from the adoption of recommendations, Senate committee inquiries influence the conduct of public affairs by providing persons and organisations with an interest in issues an opportunity to be heard in the parliamentary forum, and for problems and proposed solutions to be aired and debated. Committee inquiries also increase the knowledge and expertise of senators as legislators and participants in the framing of public policy.