Role of the committee
Section 22A of the standing orders provides -
(1) A Committee of Senators’ Interests shall be appointed at the commencement of each Parliament:
(a) to inquire into and report upon the arrangements made for the compilation, maintenance and accessibility of a Register of Senators’ Interests;
(b) to consider any proposals made by senators and others as to the form and content of the register;
(c) to consider any submissions made in relation to the registering or declaring of interests;
(d) to consider what classes of person, if any, other than senators ought to be required to register and declare their interests; and
(e) to make recommendations upon these and any other matters which are relevant.
(2) (a) The membership of the committee shall as closely as possible reflect the composition of the Senate and, until modified by a subsequent resolution, shall consist of 8 senators, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 4 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and 1 nominated by any minority groups or independent senators.
(b) The nominations of the minority groups or independent senators shall be determined by agreement between the minority groups and independent senators, and, in the absence of agreement duly notified to the President, the question of the representation on the committee shall be determined by the Senate.
(3) The committee shall elect as its chair one of its members nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
(4) The quorum of the committee shall be 3 members.
(5) The chairman may from time to time appoint a member of the committee to be deputy chairman, and the member so appointed shall act as chairman of the committee when there is no chairman or the chairman is not present at a meeting of the committee.
(6) Where votes on a question before the committee are equally divided, the chairman, or the deputy chairman when acting as chairman, shall have a casting vote.
(7) The committee shall have power to send for persons or documents, but shall not exercise that power, nor undertake an investigation of the private interests of any person, except in accordance with a decision agreed to by not less than 3 members of the committee other than the chairman.
(8) The committee shall have power to confer with a similar committee of the House of Representatives.
(9) The committee shall, as soon as practicable after 31 December in each year, prepare and table in the Senate a report on its operations during that year, and shall also have power to report from time to time.