On 29 November 2018, the Senate referred the following matter to the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances for inquiry and report by 3 April 2019:
- The continuing effectiveness, role and future direction of the Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances, including:
a. whether the committee's powers remain appropriate;
b. the adequacy of the principles by which the committee scrutinises delegated legislation, including the committee's ability to fully consider:
i.the constitutional authority for delegated legislation;
ii. administrative law principles; and
iii. principles of democratic accountability.
- The adequacy of the existing framework for parliamentary control and scrutiny of delegated legislation and whether this framework should be enhanced.
- In undertaking this inquiry, the committee should have regard to the role, powers and practices of similar parliamentary committees, including those in other jurisdictions.
- The committee be authorised to hold public hearings in relation to this inquiry and to move from place to place.
On 3 April 2019, the Senate granted an extension of time for reporting until 3 June 2019.
Changes to standing orders 23 and 25(2)(a)
On 27 November 2019, the Senate agreed to General Business Notice of Motion No. 84, standing in the name of the Chair of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances, to amend Senate standing orders 23 and 25(2)(a). The amendments accord with the recommendations of the bipartisan report of the committee's 2019 inquiry into parliamentary scrutiny of delegated legislation. In summary, they:
modernise language and procedures;
clarify the standing orders to reflect existing committee practice; and
promote consistency with other Senate standing committees and scrutiny committees in other Westminster jurisdictions.
The amendments took effect on 4 December 2019. Further information about the amendments is available in this explanatory note.