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Committees Overview

Given the often complex nature of the questions the Parliament is required to consider, and the need for the Parliament to be aware of the opinions and needs of the wider community, the Parliament has created some temporary and standing committees of its own Members to investigate issues as they arise.

This section lists some of the Committees run by Parliament House to look into important issues that Parliament needs to know about. You can find out what the committees do and who sits on them. There are several types of Parliamentary Committees: Standing, Select, Joint, Administrative and Sessional Committees.

Standing Committees are established under the Parliamentary Committees Act 1991 or the Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee Act 2003. The appointing House or Houses determines membership to these Committees and appointments are made for the life of the Parliament.  Standing Committees are created to inquire into a specific matter or area. The appointing House or Houses determines membership to these Committees and appointments are made for the life of the Parliament. Standing Committees under the Parliamentary Committees Act inquire into specific matters or areas referred to it by either of the following:

  • A motion from the appointing House(s):
  • The Committee's own motion; or
  • A direction from the Governor.

The Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee inquires into specific matters or areas referred to it by either of the following:

  • A Resolution of both Houses of Parliament:
  • The Committee's own motion; or
  • Any matter referred by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation.

For more information on Standing Committees see the Standing Committee Information Sheet.

Select Committees are established by a House and Joint Committees are established by both Houses to inquire into a Bill or other particular matter and cease to exist after they have reported.

The Joint Parliamentary Service Committee is an Administrative Committee ,  established under the Parliament (Joint Services) Act 1985.  It consists of members of both Houses and manages the services, building and precincts of the Parliament. It is appointed at the first sitting after each general election and continues for the life of that Parliament. It is chaired in alternate years by the Presiding Officers of each House.

Sessional Committees are established by the House until the end of the current session of Parliament. Their functions are generally administrative or concerned with processes of the House. Estimates Committees are Sessional Committees.  For information on Estimates Committees see the Estimates Committee Information Sheet.

A Privilege Committee is an ad hoc committee of Members established by the House as necessary for the consideration of matters that may be found to be breaches of parliamentary privilege or contempts of the House or the Parliament by its own Members or others.