Parliamentary Protection of Human Rights: Submission on Future of Senate Scrutiny of Bills Committee

On 31 March 2011, the HRLC made a submission to the Senate Scrutiny of Bills Committee during its review inquiring into its future role and direction. The submission focuses on the appropriateness of the powers, processes and terms of references of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee, in light of the proposed new Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (the Joint Human Rights Committee). (The bills for the establishment of the Joint Human Rights Committee are currently before the Senate: Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Bill 2010 and Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2010.)

The HRLC submits that in the current inquiry the Scrutiny of Bills Committee should find and recommend that:

  1. the Scrutiny of Bills Committee’s powers, processes and terms of reference remain appropriate and that the Scrutiny of Bills Committee should continue to consider human rights issues where they are relevant to the Scrutiny of Bills Committee’s work;
  2. the proposed Joint Human Rights Committee will have a separate and distinct role to the Scrutiny of Bills Committee but will complement its work; and
  3. the Joint Human Rights Committee should be established as soon as possible.