Second report of 2019
The committee reports to the Senate on the following matters, referred
by the President of the Senate on 13 March 2019, at the request of the then Manager
of Opposition Business, Senator O'Neill. Senator O'Neill's letter is reproduced
at Appendix 1. Each matter proposes procedural changes.
Closing the Gap statement
The first proposal asks that the Senate add to its practices
surrounding consideration of the Prime Minister's annual 'Closing the Gap'
statement. Senator O'Neill proposes a short suspension of Senate sittings to
enable senators to attend the presentation of the statement in the House of
The committee noted the proposal from Senator O’Neill that
the Senate suspend each year to enable senators to attend the presentation of
the Prime Minister's annual 'Closing the Gap' statement in the House of
Representatives. The committee agreed to recommend that the Senate adopt the
proposal, with an amendment that the suspension commence 10 minutes prior to
the presentation of the statement, rather than 30 minutes as initially
That the Senate adopt a resolution, as follows:
That each year, on the day on
which the Prime Minister presents the annual report on progress in meeting the
'Closing the Gap' targets, the sitting of the Senate be suspended 10 minutes
prior to the time set for the presentation of the report in the House of
Representatives, until the ringing of the bells, to enable senators to attend.
Indigenous Australian languages
The second proposal is that, where evidence is taken before
a Senate committee in an Indigenous Australian language, the Senate requires
that the evidence be transcribed in Hansard both in that language and in
The committee noted the proposal from Senator O’Neill to
amend standing order 35 and adopt a standalone resolution relating to recording
Indigenous Australian languages in committee Hansards. The committee
agreed to recommend that the Senate adopt the proposal. The committee noted
that, as a matter of practice, any committee recording evidence as proposed
should ensure it is aware of the resources required. The committee agreed to
keep a watching brief on resource implications.
That standing order 35 be amended and the Senate adopt a resolution, as
At the end of standing
order 35, add:
(3) If evidence is heard by a committee in an
Indigenous Australian language the transcript of that evidence shall record
- the evidence as submitted in the Indigenous
Australian language; and
English translation of the evidence.
The Senate resolves that,
where a committee has heard evidence in an Indigenous Australian language, the
transcription by Hansard staff of the evidence as submitted, and its
translation into English, should be assisted by the person who gave evidence or
a person from their community.
Senator Sue Lines
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