Thursday, 4 February 2016
Select Committee on School Funding Investment; Appointment
First, the basis of establishing this inquiry to investigate school funding with particular reference to 'the impact of the cuts announced in the 2014-15 budget' is false. Since 2014, Commonwealth spending is providing higher levels of school funding than ever before: a record $69.4 billion in total Commonwealth funding over the forward estimates period, representing an increase funding of 27.3 per cent. The ABC Fact Check in 2014 concluded:
The Government did not cut $30 billion from schools in the May budget.
Second, there has been a previous Senate inquiry: the Senate Select Committee on School Funding, which tabled its report Equity and excellence in Australian schools only in July 2014 and which covered similar areas. As that inquiry was very thorough—involving 3,000 submissions, and hearings in all states—running a similar inquiry so soon would be a considerable and questionable cost the taxpayer.
(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on School Funding Investment, be established to inquire into and report by 30 August 2016 on the effect of reduced Commonwealth funding for state and territory provided schools, with particular reference to:
(a) the impact of the cuts announced in the 2014-15 Budget and confirmed in the 2015-16 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook;
(b) the impact on schools and students in regional, rural and remote areas;
(c) the impact on students acquiring the job skills of the future, including science, technology, engineering, arts and maths; and
(d) any related matter.
(2) That the committee consist of 6 senators, 2 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 2 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, 1 nominated by the Leader of the Australian Greens, and 1 nominated by other parties and independent senators.
(a) participating members may be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or any minority party or independent senator, and
(b) participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any questions before the committee.
(4) That 3 members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee.
(5) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.
(6) That the committee elect as chair one of the members nominated by the Leader of the Opposition, and a deputy chair.
(7) That the deputy chair shall act chair when the chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.
(8) That, in the event of an equality of voting, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote.
(9) That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of 3 or more of its members, and to refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to consider.
(10) That the committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.
(11) That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President.
(12) That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.