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This website contains names and images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Navigate Senate Committees

The report, which was presented to the Senate on 17 March 1970, proposed two options—

(1) a limited number of specialist committees to inform the Senate on ‘neglected’ policy areas, and
(2) a comprehensive system of ‘legislative and general purpose’ committees to cover all activities of government departments.

The report formed the context of the debate in the Senate which ultimately led to the formation of a standing committee system in June 1970.

JR Odgers, Clerk of the Senate, 1965–79

‘Go for the big one’

In 1985 JR Odgers wrote:

‘… the Senate Standing Orders Committee, about 1970, gave me the task of preparing a blue print for a committee system … Before the draft was submitted to the Standing Orders Committee, a senior member of the committee [Senator Lionel Murphy] examined it. “No”, he said, “it will not do. Go for the big one—a committee system throwing the searchlight onto every activity of Government. We will never get another chance like this one” … I re-drafted as the Senator wisely advised and the rest is history.’

JR Odgers, letter to Mark Swinson, Clerk to the Select Committee on Standing Committees for the Legislative Council, 30 April 1985

Find out more

James Rowland Odgers (Clerk of the Senate 1965-1975), Interview with Robert Linford on the reaction of Senator Murphy to his draft report, 1985

National Library of Australia, TRC 4900/105, session 1, 00:44:13-00:48:38.
Full interview available at