Senate establishes a select committee to consider a system of standing committees
Establishment of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances
In 1929 the Australian Labor Party government, under Prime Minister James Scullin, won a landslide election in the House of Representatives but held only seven of the 36 seats in the Senate.
The Central Reserve Bank Bill, introduced in the Senate in 1930, sought to establish a Reserve Bank and strengthen Australia’s banking system during the Great Depression. On 10 July, the Senate referred the bill to an eight-member select committee, only three of whom were government senators. The government senators subsequently withdrew from the inquiry. The committee concluded the bill was ‘not suitable to the needs of Australia’, and the bill was defeated early in 1931.
This bill, and two others referred to select committees in the early 1950s, helped create a perception that using committees to examine proposed legislation was politically motivated rather than a legitimate and proper function of the Senate in the consideration of bills.
Harold Barry Armstrong, ‘The Thing!’, Argus (Melbourne), 30 Apr 1951, p. 1.
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Papers on Parliament, no. 53, June 2010