Thursday, 2 September 2021
Young People: Select Committee; Appointment
At the request of Senator Steele-John, I move:
(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on Young People, be established to inquire into and report upon:
(a) the impact of the events of 2019-21 on the lives and wellbeing of young people across Australia;
(b) specific issues affecting young people into the future, including but not limited to:
(i) housing affordability and accessibility,
(iii) financial security,
(iv) higher education and training,
(v) mental health,
(vi) access to healthcare,
(vii) loneliness and isolation,
(viii) climate change,
(ix) bullying and harassment, and
(x) experience of First Nations youth, culturally and linguistically diverse youth, disabled youth, LGBTQIA+ youth, and young women;
(c) the adequacy and effectiveness of government policy in relation to young people;
(d) the social and economic costs associated with failing to sufficiently include and co-design policy affecting young people and their broader inclusion in decision-making; and
(e) any other related matters.
(2) That the committee present its final report by 30 June 2022.
(3) That the committee consist of six senators, as follows:
(a) two nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate;
(b) two nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate;
(c) Senator Steele-John; and
(d) one nominated by minor party or 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;
(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; and
(c) a participating member shall be taken to be a member of the committee for the purpose of forming a quorum of the committee if a majority of members of the committee is not present.
(5) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that all members have not been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.
(6) That Senator Steele-John be appointed as chair of the committee, and the committee elect as deputy chair a member nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
(7) That the deputy chair shall act as chair when the chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.
(8) That the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, may appoint another member of the committee to act as chair during the temporary absence of both the chair and deputy chair at a meeting of the committee.
(9) That, in the event of an equally divided vote, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote.
(10) That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of three or more of its members, and to refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to consider.
(11) 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.
(12) 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.
(13) 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.
Young Australians have many reasons to be optimistic and hopeful for the future. The Australian government's National Youth Policy Framework acknowledges the challenges faced by young people, particularly from the impacts of COVID-19, and outlines the government's significant support and ongoing commitment to delivering practical measures to listen to and support young Australians.
I will not be supporting this referral to a select committee, for the same reason that I haven't supported Senator Roberts or Senator Canavan. I refer again to page 485 of Odgers', where the Senate had resolved or put a proposition forward that there should be only three select committees at any one time. If this referral were to go to a reference committee that already stood I would support it.