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

Navigate Senate Committees

Leading up to the 1980s there was growing discontent that appropriations for the parliamentary departments were funded under the government’s ordinary services appropriation bill, which the Senate was not empowered to amend. There were also concerns about the Public Service Board’s role in approving parliamentary staffing arrangements.

A select committee established in May 1980 to investigate Parliament’s financial dependence on the government concluded that it was a symptom of ‘the growing imbalance in the relationship between Parliament and the Executive’—with grave ramifications for parliamentary independence.

On the committee’s recommendation, the government introduced a separate appropriation bill for parliamentary expenditure commencing in the 1982–83 financial year. The government also agreed to the 1982 establishment of a standing Appropriations and Staffing Committee to determine annual Senate staffing and funding estimates. The standing committee today also oversees aspects of parliamentary administration.

Senator Don Jessop

Government senator Don Jessop chaired the committee and was subsequently appointed as the inaugural chairman (1982–87) of the Standing Committee on Appropriations and Staffing.

Jessop, a regular floor-crosser throughout his parliamentary career, spoke about the significance of the committee system in 1978, saying it allows ‘members from both sides of politics to work together in the interests of the whole community, and that not infrequently leads to views and even reports critical of government action or lack of it’.

A historical first occurred on 12 February 1981 during one of Jessop’s committee hearings when the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Billy Snedden, gave evidence before the committee.

Find out more

Senator Donald Scott Jessop, committee member 1980-81, Interview with Bruce Edwards, 1990-91

National Library of Australia, TRC 4900/91, session 13, 00:03:33-00:08:05.
Full interview available at

14th edition, 2016

10 May 2018 (PDF)