Scrutiny of Bills under the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003
The Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee examines all Bills presented to the Parliament and publishes its findings in a report called the Alert Digest.
The Terms of Reference of the Committee contain principles of scrutiny that enable it to operate in the best traditions of non-partisan legislative scrutiny. These traditions have developed since the first Australian scrutiny of bills committee of the Australian Senate commenced scrutiny of bills in 1981. They are precedents and traditions followed by all Australian scrutiny committees.
The Committee does not make comments on the policy aspects of legislation. Non-policy scrutiny principles within its terms of reference allow the Committee to alert the Parliament to the use of certain legislative practices and allows the Parliament to consider whether the use of these practices is necessary, appropriate or desirable in all the circumstances.
The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 provides that the Committee must consider any Bill introduced into Parliament and must report to the Parliament whether the Bill is incompatible with Human Rights.
Where the Committee seeks further information concerning a bill from a Minister or member, it will include any correspondence on the bill in a subsequent (Alert Digest) report to Parliament.
To see which Bills are currently before the Committee please note the following links
The Committee’s functions are set out in section 17 of the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003 which provide:
17. Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee
The functions of the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee are –
(a) to consider any Bill introduced into the Council or the Assembly and to report to the Parliament as to whether the Bill directly or indirectly –
(i) trespasses unduly upon rights or freedoms;
(ii) makes rights, freedoms or obligations dependent upon insufficiently defined administrative powers;
(iii) makes rights, freedoms or obligations dependent upon non-reviewable administrative decisions;
(iv) unduly requires or authorises acts or practices that may have an adverse effect on personal privacy within the meaning of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014;
(v) unduly requires or authorises acts or practices that may have an adverse effect on privacy of health information within the meaning of the Health Records Act 2000;
(vi) inappropriately delegates legislative power;
(vii) insufficiently subjects the exercise of legislative power to parliamentary scrutiny;
(viii) is incompatible with the human rights set out in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities;
(b) to consider any Bill introduced into the Assembly or Council and to report to the Parliament –
(i) as to whether the Bill directly or indirectly repeals, alters or varies section 85 of the Constitution Act 1975, or raises an issue as to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court;
(ii) if a Bill repeals, alters or varies section 85 of the Constitution Act 1975, whether this is in all the circumstances appropriate and desirable;
(iii) if a Bill does not repeal, alter or vary section 85 of the Constitution Act 1975, but where an issue is raised as to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, as to the full implications of that issue;
(c) to consider any Act that was not considered under paragraph (a) or (b) when it was a Bill –
(i) within 30 days immediately after the first appointment of members of the Committee after the commencement of each Parliament; or
(ii) within 10 sitting days after the Act receives Royal Assent —
whichever is the later, and to report to the Parliament with respect to that Act or any matter referred to in those paragraphs;
(d) the functions conferred on the Committee by the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994;
(e) the functions conferred on the Committee by the Environment Protection Act 2017;
(f) the functions conferred on the Committee by the Co-operative Schemes (Administrative Actions) Act 2001;
(fa) the functions conferred on the Committee by the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities;
(g) to review any Act in accordance with the terms of reference under which the Act is referred to the Committee under this Act.