Parliament committee system to be enhanced

Published Tuesday, 01 May, 2012 at 01:47 PM

Leader of the House
Mr Ray Stevens

State Parliament’s committee system will be enhanced by increasing the size of portfolio committees to eight members this term and prescribing a formula to determine the makeup of committees whatever the result of a state election.

Leader of the House Ray Stevens said the LNP Government would act on the advice of the Clerk of the Parliament to ensure the committees could continue to effectively scrutinise new laws and the actions of Government.

“The original laws establishing the new portfolio committee system were not designed in a way that took into account the result the Queensland public delivered at the March 24 state election,” he said.

“As such, the Clerk of the Parliament has advised the laws now need to change to ensure the committees remain workable and can function practically.

“The Clerk’s advice, which the Government accepts, is to increase committee membership this term to eight members, made up of six government members and two non-government members.

“This change is in line with a 1992 recommendation of the Electoral and Administration Review Commission – established out of the Fitzgerald Inquiry - that the makeup of parliamentary committees should reflect the composition of the Parliament.

“The LNP is determined to govern responsibly and to respect the faith the Queensland public has shown in us, and we recognise the crucial role committees play in scrutinising the actions of Government.

“We also recognise the committee system needs to reflect the realities of the Parliament, and that is why we will act on the Clerk’s advice to amend the Parliament of Queensland Act.

“As part of the changes, a new formula will be set out in law to determine the membership of Parliamentary committees now and into the future.

“That will ensure the Government doesn’t have to amend the laws after each election to reflect the new makeup of the Parliament.

“In short the formula provides that:

·When non-government members make up less than 15% of the total number of members, the committee size will be eight members made up of six Government MPs and two non-Government MPs

·When non-government members make up more than 15% and less than 25% of the total, the committee size will be seven members made up of five Government MPs and two non-Government MPs

·When non-government members make up more than 25% and less than 50% of the total, the committee size will be six members made up of three Government MPs and three non-Government MPs.”

Mr Stevens said the amendments would be introduced as a matter of urgency to ensure the new committees can be established as soon as possible to get on with their job of scrutinising new laws and the actions of the Government.

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