Thursday, 10 December 2020
For the information of honourable members, I present a schedule of the status of government responses to committee reports as at 9 December 2020. The schedule will be incorporated in Hansard.
The schedule read as follows—
The Speaker's schedule to the House of Representatives on the status of government responses to committee reports is presented at six monthly intervals, usually in the last sitting weeks of the winter and spring sittings. The last schedule was presented in the House on 18 June 2020. The schedule presents a list of committee reports that contain recommendations requiring a government response. Government responses received during the period are included in the schedule and the report it relates to is then removed from subsequent schedules.
The timeframe for government responses to committee reports in this schedule is determined by the resolution adopted by the House on 29 September 2010, in which government responses to House and Joint committee reports are required within a six month period from the presentation of the report in the House. The Senate has resolved to require government responses to Senate and Joint committee reports within three months of a report being tabled.(1)
This schedule does not list reports that do not require a government response. In the past, the practice was to include all reports tabled in the House in the Speaker's schedule. However, the intent of this schedule is to provide an update to the House on the status of government responses to committee reports.
The schedule does not include advisory reports on bills introduced into the House of Representatives unless the reports make recommendations that are wider than the provision of the bill and would therefore be the subject of a government response. The Government's response to bill inquiry reports is apparent in the resumption of consideration of the relevant legislation by the House. Also not included are reports from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, the House of Representatives Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests, and the Publications Committee (other than reports on inquiries). Government responses to reports of the Public Works Committee are usually reflected in motions for the approval of works after the relevant report has been presented and considered. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights' regular scrutiny reports on the human rights compatibility of bills and legislative instruments are not listed, as the timeframe for a response is specified in correspondence to the relevant minister.
Reports of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit primarily make administrative recommendations but may make policy recommendations. A government response is required in respect of such policy recommendations made by the committee. Responses to administrative recommendations are made in the form of an Executive Minute provided to, and subsequently tabled by, the committee. Agencies responding to administrative recommendations are required to provide an Executive Minute within six months of the tabling of a report. Executive Minutes are included in this schedule.
The table below provides a summary of government responses received and outstanding to committee reports of the 43rd to 46th Parliaments inclusive.
Listed below (see table below) are responses received (since tabling of the last schedule on 18 June 2020) and outstanding (as at 9 December 2020):
* Presented out of session
(1) This practice has arisen from a Senate resolution of 14 March 1973, in which the Senate declared its opinion that the government should provide a response to committee reports within three months of tabling. Successive governments have affirmed their commitment to providing such responses.
(2) The date of tabling is the date the report was presented to the House of Representatives or to the Speaker, whichever is earlier. In the case of joint committees, the date shown is the date of first presentation to either the House or the Senate or to the President or Speaker (if presented earlier out of session). Reports published when the House (or Houses) are not sitting are tabled at a later date.
(3) If the source for the government response date is not the Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives or the Journals of the Senate, the source is shown in an endnote.
(4) The Government has undertaken to respond to committee reports within a six month period-see House of Representatives Standing Orders, resolution of the House of Representatives of 29 September 2010. This resolution also puts in place additional steps for reports not responded to within that six month period. The period from when the 44th Parliament was prorogued on 9 May 2016 to the commencement of the 45th Parliament on 30 August 2016 is not included in the response period. The period from when the 45th Parliament was prorogued on 11 April 2019 to the commencement of the 46th Parliament on 2 July 2019 is not included in the response period.
(5) The Committee has resolved that a government response to this report is no longer required. The listing will be removed from the next schedule.
(6) The Committee has resolved that a government response to this report is no longer required. The listing will be removed from the next schedule.
(7) The Committee has resolved that a government response to this report is no longer required. The listing will be removed from the next schedule.