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About Committees

The committee system

The committee system in a parliamentary democracy provides a way of achieving greater public input into issues being considered by Parliament. The Parliament of Victoria has an extensive system of committees which hold inquiries into particular issues and call for input from the wider community, including experts, individuals, business and government organisations, to express their views.

For further information, please contact the Committee Services Office on 03 8682 2800 or cso@parliament.vic.gov.au

Watch our animation explaining how Parliament's committees work.

 

What do Parliamentary Committees do?

Parliamentary committees are made up of Members of Parliament from different political parties. They investigate a particular issue and report their findings and recommendations to the Parliament.

The work of committees facilitates:

  • public debate and awareness of issues
  • direct public input into parliamentary and policy processes
  • personal contact between parliamentarians and the public
  • in-depth investigation of issues to assist with better legislative decisions

 

The inquiry process

  1. Terms of reference – the committee receives detailed instructions or terms of reference.
  2. Calling for submissions – the committee advertises for submissions and contacts those with specialist knowledge.
  3. Public hearings – committees may take evidence in public or private, exploring points of interest or concern.
  4. Research – research on specific aspects can be commissioned from expert sources.
  5. Reporting to the Parliament – Considering all gathered information, the committee releases its final report to the Parliament and the public.
  6. Government response – the Government has six months to respond to a committee’s final report, indicating whether it supports any recommendations made in the report.

 

Types of committees

There are four main types of parliamentary committees:

  • Joint Investigatory Committees: appointed each parliament to investigate a number of different issues in particular subject areas. They are made up of members of both Houses.
  • Standing Committees: appointed for the length of a parliamentary term to investigate a number of different issues in particular subject areas. They are made up of members of one House.
  • Select Committees: investigate a particular issue and are dissolved when the issue is reported on. They are made up of members of one House.
  • Domestic Committees: focusing on the operations of Parliament, such as parliamentary procedure and administration. They are made up of members of one House.