The Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests is appointed to:
inquire into and report on complaints of breach of privilege or contempt which may be referred to it by the House under standing order 51 (PDF 18KB) or by the Speaker under standing order 52, (PDF 18KB) or any or related matter referred to it by or in accordance with a resolution of the House; and
inquire into and report on the arrangements made for the compilation, maintenance and accessibility of a Register of Members' Interests;
consider proposals by Members and others on the form and content of the Register of Members' Interests;
consider specific complaints about registering or declaring interests;
consider possible changes to any code of conduct adopted by the House; and
consider whether specified persons (other than Members) ought to be required to register and declare their interests.
The House has passed several resolutions with continuing effect in relation to the declaration of registrable interests.
The House also passed a resolution on 4 April 2019 giving the committee the following further responsibilities:
• determine procedures for the maintenance of a Register of Members’ qualifications relating to sections 44 and 45 of the Constitution; and
• prescribe a form or forms for the purposes of Members attesting to the accuracy and completeness of material provided to the Australian Electoral Commission in accordance with Part XIV of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, and providing supplementary material as required.
This resolution also gives the committee the same powers and functions in relation to the Register of Members’ qualifications as it has in relation to the Register of Members’ Interests, including the power to inquire into a relevant matter referred to it by the House.
Other information about committee procedures
The procedure for raising and dealing with questions of privilege and details of the functions and procedures of the committee are discussed in detail in Chapter 20 - Parliamentary privilege in House of Representatives Practice
, 7th ed., Department of the House of Representatives, Canberra, 2018. See also House of Representatives Infosheet No. 5 - Parliamentary Privilege
The committee may call for witnesses and documents, but when considering a matter concerning the registration or declaration of Members' Interests it must not exercise that power or undertake of a person's private interests unless the action is approved by at least 6 members of the committee other than the Chair.
The committee may report when it sees fit, and must report to the House on its operations in connection with the registration and declaration of Members' interests during the year as soon as possible after 31 December each year.
Prior to the dissolution of the House for the 2007 general election the predecessors to this committee were known as the Standing Committee of Privileges and Standing Committee of Members' Interests
A full list of reports tabled by the Committee and its predecessors is available online together with reports of inquiries completed since 1997.