History and purpose of the committee
The Committee was first appointed on 21 December 1989. It consists of three members of the Legislative Council.
Historically, the majority of the Committee’s time has been involved with considering petitions which have been tabled by a member of the Legislative Council on behalf of person(s) or groups within the community. The Committee’s object in reviewing these petitions is to provide a forum for public discussion on matters of community interest and to allow interested persons, or groups, to bring their concerns to the attention of the Legislative Council. The petitions deal with a wide range of issues which recently have included: a request that community based midwifery be included in State health services, the erosion of private property rights, proposed amendments to the Metropolitan Region Scheme, opposition to uranium mining, support for voluntary euthanasia and issues concerning attention hyperactivity disorder.
Following the report of the Select Committee to Review the Legislative Council Standing Committee System, the then Constitutional Affairs and Statutes Revision Committee was reconstituted as a Constitutional Affairs Committee with the relevant amendments being passed in the Legislative Council on 12 March 1998. The amendments provided the Committee with the power to originate its own inquiries on any matter affecting the State of Western Australia and its constitutional or legal relationship with the Commonwealth, the States and Territories. In addition, the Committee was specifically provided with the power to inquire into and report on the constitutional law, customs and usages of Western Australia and on bills which give effect to certain intergovernmental agreements.
The committee systerm of the 35th Parliament was revised with the passing of a resolution in the Legislative Council on May 24 2001. The Legislative Council terminated the previous standing committees and created a new set of committees with new terms of reference. Information about these new standing committees, including their terms of reference, can be found under the heading "committees" on the Parliament House Webpage.