Appointment of the first select committee
Senate establishes a select committee to consider a system of standing committees
The Parliamentary Evidence Bill 1904 was introduced into the Senate by Senator John Neild (Free Trade, NSW) to clarify the manner in which evidence could be taken by witnesses before the Senate or its committees. As rules governing the calling of witnesses were contained in the Senate’s standing orders, the bill was referred by the Senate to its Standing Orders Committee, which was responsible for developing the Senate’s practices and procedures.
On this occasion the referral of a parliamentary matter to a parliamentary committee was non-controversial. The same could not be said for proposed legislation on policy matters. Repeated attempts to refer bills to select committees were resisted by government senators over the first three decades of the Senate.
Swiss Studios (Melbourne, Vic), Portrait of Colonel J.C. Neild, 1901. National Library of Australia, nla.obj-136715685