Role of the Committee
The Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances assesses delegated legislation against a set of scrutiny principles that focus on compliance with statutory requirements, the protection of individual rights and liberties, and principles of parliamentary oversight.
The committee examines each disallowable instrument of delegated legislation that is tabled in the Parliament to ensure:
- that it is in accordance with the statute;
- that it does not trespass unduly on personal rights and liberties;
- that it does not unduly make the rights and liberties of citizens dependent on administrative decisions which are not subject to review of their merits by a judicial or other independent tribunal; and
- that it does not contain matter more appropriate for parliamentary enactment. [see Senate Standing Order 23]
The committee meets regularly, in each sitting week of the Senate, and publishes the outcomes of its meetings in the Delegated Legislation Monitor.
Where an instrument raises a concern referable to the committee's scrutiny principles, the committee's usual approach is to write to the responsible minister seeking further explanation or information, or seeking an undertaking for specific action to address the issue of concern.
The committee's scrutiny work is supported by processes for the registration, tabling and potential disallowance of legislative instruments, which are established by the Legislation Act 2003.
The committee generally seeks to conclude any matters within the period that an instrument is open to disallowance (which is usually within 15 sitting days of the instrument being tabled in the Senate).
The committee's Disallowance Alert webpage lists all instruments subject to a notice of motion for disallowance (whether at the instigation of the committee or an individual senator or member). The progress and outcome of any such notice is also recorded.