1. This is the second sessional report of the Uniform Legislation and General Purposes Committee for the Thirty-Sixth Parliament. The report summarises the Committee’s activities during the second session of the Parliament, provides a convenient analysis of the matters into which the Committee has inquired and discusses challenges that have faced the Committee.
2. In particular, the sessional report provides the opportunity for the Committee to report to the House on a number of systemic and overarching matters that are not related to a particular item of legislation including:
· a discussion on parliamentary scrutiny, and parliamentary committee oversight;
· a discussion on legislative scrutiny principles as applied by parliamentary committees in other jurisdictions and as applied by this Committee;
· a synopsis of some of the main issues of concern to the Committee with examples distilled from some of its reports;
· a discussion of issues facing the Committee and Committee initiatives;
· the identification of proposed uniform legislation; and
· the Committee’s participation in interjurisdictional meetings, conferences and initiatives.
3. The Committee has also taken the opportunity to share its experiences and make some Recommendations to assist the House in its consideration of parliamentary committee scrutiny in the next Parliament.
Recommendations are grouped as they appear in the text at the page number indicated:
Recommendation 1: The Committee recommends that the role of the Uniform Legislation and General Purposes Committee, as established by its terms of reference, continue into the next Parliament. Should the Legislative Council review its committee system then the Committee recommends that the House ensure that the Committee’s mandate is reflected in a Legislative Council parliamentary committee.
Recommendation 2: The Committee recommends that, if the notice of motion given by Hon Adele Farina MLC on April 7 2004 is not resolved in this Parliament, then the default period in standing order 230A(4) should be considered by the House in the next Parliament with a view to amending the standing order to refer to “30 sitting days” as opposed to “30 days”.
Recommendation 3: The Committee recommends that the Minister for State and Federal Relations do liaise with relevant Minsters of other Australian jurisdictions, in particular the Commonwealth Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, with a view to ascertaining whether the period provided to state parliamentary committees for consultation on proposed treaties can be extended to enable sufficient and proper state parliamentary scrutiny to occur.
Recommendation 4: The Committee recommends that in the next Parliament, subject to an extension of time for consultation in relation to treaties being achieved, an express treaty reviewing function be given to a relevant parliamentary committee with sufficient resources to undertake the work.