Work of Committee of Privileges: Some Facts and Figures
References, general inquiries and advisory reports to December 2007
Since 1966, 136 matters have been referred to the Committee of Privileges and 142 reports have been tabled. Seventeen matters have been referred since the committee’s general report on its operations, Report No. 125, tabled in December 2005 (including right of reply applications), and 17 reports have been tabled.
As advised in general reports (nos 35, 62, 76, 107 and 125), the committee may combine matters in a single report or report on them separately. Hence the number of reports tabled does not correspond to the number of matters referred.
Figure 1 Number of reports tabled per year, 1988 – 2009
The committee’s activities prior to 1988 were spasmodic, with little or no ‘bunching’ of reports: reports were tabled in 1971, 1975, 1978, 1979 (2), 1981, 1984, 1985 (2) and 1986. Since 1988, however, many more demands have been placed on the committee. As Figure 1 discloses, the busiest year to date has been 2000, during which twelve reports were tabled. Reports can encompass more than one reference with for example, Report No. 74 covering six references and Report No.142 covering two references. As figure 1 also discloses, the committee’s workload is heavily influenced by the election cycle. In years in which federal elections have been held (1990, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2007) its activities have been reduced.
Since the passage of the privilege resolutions, including the introduction of the right-of-reply procedure, in 1988, the committee has tabled 57 right-of-reply reports compared with 55 reports on possible contempts and 21 general or advisory reports. Figure 2 shows how the types of reports have fluctuated within a fairly narrow band in those 2 odd years.
Figure 2 Reports by report type 1988-2009
Conduct of inquiries
For further information, contact:
Senate Standing Committee of Privileges
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600
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