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Commitees and Inquiries

Federal Committees and Inquiries

Types of committees and inquiries include:

  • Parliamentary
  • Party Committees (e.g. Liberal Party)
  • Government committees or inquiries (e.g. Productivity Commission inquiries)
  • Judicial inquiries (e.g. Royal Commissions)

Parliamentary committees investigate specific matters of government performance, administration or policy. For more information on current committees click here.

Most Members of Parliament (except Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries) serve on committees. Committees are usually composed of seven to nine members.

Government members are generally in the majority on each committee. This is because committees are aligned to the proportion of members in the House.

A feature of the committees is the ability of Members from all parties to work together constructively to develop reports and proposals.

Resulting reports from committees are presented to the House. On occasion some members of a committee do not agree with all the recommendations provided in the report and may add a minority or dissenting report.

For more information about committees click here.


Inquiries investigate specific matters and provide an opportunity for organisations and individuals to participate in policy making and to have their views considered and placed on the public record.

Inquiries may take only a few weeks or last many months, especially when wide community input is sought.

The following process should occur:

  1. Advertise terms of reference and invite written submissions from individuals and organisations.
  2. Consideration of the submissions received. Some people or organisations may then be invited to a public hearing to discuss the submission or answer questions.
  3. Less formal gatherings including focus groups or public meetings may be called to gather opinions and ideas from the community or subject experts.
  4. The evidence is examined and a report is prepared. The report will be presented to the House (or to both Houses in the case of a joint committee) which sets out findings and makes recommendations.
  5. After the report is presented (or tabled) it is up to the government to decide which recommendations (if any) they will act on.

The list of current inquiries is posted on the Australian Government website here. It is regularly updated. Community Industry Group also collate a list of community service related inquiries here.

There are also inquiries for each state as well. For information about NSW State Inquiries click here.

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