About Committees

Watch our animation explaining how Parliament's committees work.

 

What do Parliamentary Committees do?

Parliamentary committees are made up of Members of Parliament from different political parties. They investigate a particular issue and report their findings and recommendations to the Parliament.

The work of committees facilitates:

  • public debate and awareness of issues
  • direct public input into parliamentary and policy processes
  • personal contact between parliamentarians and the public
  • in-depth investigation of issues to assist with better legislative decisions

 

The inquiry process

  1. Terms of reference – the committee receives detailed instructions or terms of reference.
  2. Calling for submissions – the committee advertises for submissions and contacts those with specialist knowledge.
  3. Public hearings – committees may take evidence in public or private, exploring points of interest or concern.
  4. Research – research on specific aspects can be commissioned from expert sources.
  5. Reporting to the Parliament – Considering all gathered information, the committee releases its final report to the Parliament and the public.
  6. Government response – the Government has six months to respond to a committee’s final report, indicating whether it supports any recommendations made in the report.

 

Types of committees

There are four main types of parliamentary committees:

  • Joint Investigatory Committees: appointed each parliament to investigate a number of different issues in particular subject areas. They are made up of members of both Houses.
  • Standing Committees: appointed for the length of a parliamentary term to investigate a number of different issues in particular subject areas. They are made up of members of one House.
  • Select Committees: investigate a particular issue and are dissolved when the issue is reported on. They are made up of members of one House.
  • Domestic Committees: focusing on the operations of Parliament, such as parliamentary procedure and administration. They are made up of members of one House.