As well as parliamentary business, debates and legislation, every Parliament has committees. Some are House of Representative Committees, some are Senate Committees and some are Joint Committees with members from the Senate and the House of Representatives. All have members from government and opposition.
You can find a list of all the committees for the 44th Parliament on the Parliamentary website here. www.aph.gov.au
I am a member of the House of Representative Selection Committee and the following Joint Committees –
- Public Works Committee
- House Committee
- Parliamentary Education Office Advisory Committee
These committees meet during sitting weeks when we are all in Canberra and may meet in non-sitting weeks when and where required. The committees provide opportunities for members of the Government and the Opposition to work together for the benefit of the parliament and the country. Members and Senators of the government Chair the committees and members of the opposition are usually Deputy Chairs of committees.
The House of Representatives Selection Committee meets to determine which Private Members Business will be scheduled for debate in the following weeks and what time will be given to each speaker. The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the usually Chair of this committee.
Public Works Committee (PWC) meets to review submissions by federal government departments for buildings and works. Some examples would be building an Australian Embassy in another country or a new runway for the Air Force. Spending requires approval from the parliament. The PWC review the submissions, conduct public and private hearings where people can present information, the committee can ask questions and visit sites before and after works are completed. The PWC then report to the Parliament through the House of Representatives, making recommendations.
Joint House Committee
This committee overseas the operations of Parliament House itself. It determines things like the budget for the running of the House. It also makes recommendations to the Parliament. The Chair of this Committee is the Speaker for the House of Representatives and the Deputy Chair is the President of the Senate.
Parliamentary Education Office Advisory Committee
This committee meets to support the team responsible for the Education Office at Parliament House. This is the team that looks after schools when they visit Parliament House and the sections on the Parliament House website created to support students in their studies of the federal parliament.