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    4.7 Bills referred to portfolio committees

    A portfolio committee to which a Bill is referred examines the Bill and decides whether to recommend that the Bill be passed. The portfolio committee considers the policy to be given effect by the Bill, the application of fundamental legislative principles and compliance with the requirements to prepare explanatory notes. It may recommend amendments to the Bill. Ordinarily, a portfolio committee must finally report to the Legislative Assembly on a Bill within 6 months after the referral.

    To the extent practicable, a portfolio committee operates in a public and transparent way. It usually engages with stakeholders, holds public hearings and publishes relevant submissions and expert/technical advice (except if prejudicial to any person).

    Public service employees, statutory office holders and officers and employees of government entities may be required to assist or appear before a portfolio committee. The Code of Practice for Public Service employees assisting or appearing before Parliamentary Committees contains information relevant to this task.

    The published reports of the former Scrutiny of Legislation Committee and of the portfolio committees are a useful source of information about fundamental legislative principles and their application.

    Consultation with OQPC before responding to portfolio committee comments about the application of fundamental legislative principles is required:

    • if the portfolio committee has an issue with the drafting of any provision, in particular when the committee expresses concern as to whether the legislation is unambiguous and drafted in a sufficiently clear and precise way, as mentioned in the Legislative Standards Act 1992, section 4(3)(k)
    • if amending legislation in line with the portfolio committee’s comments may have an impact on precedent-based provisions in use generally across the Statute Book, including the legislation of other departments.

    OQPC’s advice is subject to legal professional privilege and the instructing officer should advise OQPC if it is intended to mention the advice in response to the portfolio committee.

    Important details about Bills referred to portfolio committees are set out in the Standing Rules and Orders of the Legislative Assembly chapter 23 and The Queensland Parliamentary Procedures Handbook.

    In their examination of a Bill, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee must consider whether the Bill is compatible with human rights and report to Parliament as to its findings (section 39(a) of the Human Rights Act 2019). The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee also considers and reports on the statement of compatibility (section 39(b) of the Act). It provides a balanced and transparent mechanism for assessing the human rights effects of proposed laws, informing parliamentary debate, and facilitating broader public debate about human rights.

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    Last updated:
    15 January, 2020
    Last reviewed:
    13 November, 2013