Senate Occasional Lecture Series

Public lunchtime lectures held at Parliament House in Canberra, on topics related to Parliament and governance. Transcripts, audio and television recordings of past lectures are also available.

Senate occasional lecture series

Committees of Influence: Evaluating the Role and Impact of Parliamentary Committees

Dr Sarah Moulds

Date: Friday 30 April 2021
Time: 12.15pm to 1.15pm
Location: Theatre, Parliament House or watch online via ParlView
Bookings: Admission is free but 'bookings are essential'. Registrations close one day prior to the event
Accessibility: The lecture will be Auslan interpreted and is wheelchair accessible

The central place parliamentary committees hold within Australia’s modern democracy is familiar to anyone who has worked within or around the Australian Parliament. The capacity of Australian parliamentary committees to provide both technical scrutiny functions and deliberative forums for engaging with experts and the community makes these bodies particularly interesting to legal scholars and political scientists. In an age of declining trust in public institutions, the need to understand and evaluate the role parliamentary committees play in our democracy is particularly acute. Drawing upon Dr Moulds’ PhD research into the role parliamentary committees play in rights protection in Australia, this lecture introduces a threetiered approach to evaluating the work of parliamentary committees and their impact on the content of legislation and the law-making process. It will focus on the role parliamentary committees play in facilitating meaningful public engagement in parliamentary law-making in Australia.

Portrait of Dr Sarah Moulds

Dr Sarah Moulds is a senior lecturer in law at the University of South Australia, Justice and Society Unit and co-founder of the Rights Resource Network SA. She has teaching and research interests in the area of public law, human rights, counter-terrorism and criminal law, administrative law and anti-discrimination law. Dr Moulds' PhD research into the role parliamentary committees play in rights protection in Australia (published in book form as Committees of Influence, Springer 2020) was awarded the University of Adelaide’s Doctoral medal in 2018. Sarah also holds a Masters of Comparative Law, Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of International Studies. She is an executive member of the International Parliamentary Engagement Network and the South Australian Chapter of the Australasian Parliamentary Studies Group. Sarah is also a member of the Expert Panel advising the Queensland Parliament on Human Rights.

Booking information

Admission is free but bookings are essential. Bookings close one day prior to the event.

Parliament House has a range of COVID Safe measures in place - please assist us by not attending if you feel unwell. All attendees must maintain physical distancing (1.5 meters) and practice good hygiene at all times.

Information about visiting Parliament House, including parking arrangements, accessibility and security screening, is available at

Please contact the Senate Procedure Office on 02 6277 3074 or email for further information.

Past lectures


Date Presenter Topic Type
12/02/2021 Dr Sarah Cameron and Professor Ian McAllister Australian Political Opinion: From the 2019 election to COVID-19
Video (Parlview)
Audio (MP3)


Lecture transcripts, audio and television recordings