Select Committees play a crucial role in the Budget process, allowing different parts of the Budget to be individually scrutinised. They also scrutinise and recommend changes to legislation before it is passed by Parliament and can initiate their own inquiries.
Most business related to Corrections is considered by the Justice Committee, which also looks at business related to constitutional and electoral matters, human rights, justice, courts, crime and criminal law, police, and Crown legal services.
Estimates Examination: Vote Corrections
The spending proposals in the Budget are divided into areas known as ‘Votes’. Each Vote is the responsibility of a particular Minister or Ministers.
In presenting the Budget, the Government asks for specific amounts of money (‘appropriations’) to be made available to be spent in each Vote. These spending proposals are known as the ‘Estimates of Appropriations’.
Following the Budget, all the Estimates for each Vote are automatically referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee. The Committee retains some Votes for itself to consider, but refers most on to other select committees to examine. In recent years, Vote Corrections estimates have been referred to the Justice Committee.
Select committees have 10 weeks to consider the spending proposals contained in the Votes, and to report back to the House. Committees often ask the responsible ministers to give evidence on the proposals, and ministers often bring government department officials with them to assist.
In their reports, select committees will note the main issues they considered when examining the Votes, and may recommend that the House accept or change the appropriations contained in the Votes.
Once the select committees’ reports have been presented to the House, all MPs have the opportunity to debate the spending proposals contained in each Vote. This is known as the Estimates debate.
Select Committee Estimates Examination Vote Corrections
Post Hearing Questions
Select Committee Annual Review
Government departments (such as Education, Health, and Justice) use money from the Budget to fund their operations and provide services. Government funding also extends to other organisations such as Officers of Parliament, Crown entities, public organisations, and State enterprises.
Through the annual review process, select committees hold these entities, and the Government, to account for how they have spent their allocated money. The reviews also consider how well they delivered their services, and if they achieved what they said they were going to do.
Select Committee Annual Review for the Department of Corrections
Post Hearing Questions
Consideration of Legislation
Most legislation is considered by a Select Committee before it is passed by Parliament. Committees call for written and oral submissions from the public (including individuals and organisations) and receive advice from government departments. The Committee does not change the proposed legislation directly but produces a report for consideration by the full Parliament.
The report summarises the evidence the Committee has received, expresses the Committee’s view on the contents of the proposed law, and recommends whether or not it should be passed and what changes, if any, should be made to it. If some members of the Committee disagree with the recommendations of the report, they may include a section expressing their own view on the legislation.
For example, before the Corrections Amendment Act 2019 was passed it was considered by the Justice Committee. The Committee received advice from Corrections and the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and also received submissions from members of the public and interested organisations.
You can find more information about Corrections’ legislative changes on our Policy and Legislation page.
Committee Inquiries & Briefings
As well as considering legislation referred to them, Select Committees can initiate inquiries into any matter related to their subject area. These can take the form of a formal inquiry or, more commonly, a briefing.
For formal inquiries the Committee would usually prepare its own written terms of reference, call witnesses, seek advice, and prepare a report to Parliament.
Briefings are an opportunity for the Committee’s members to inform themselves about an issue of interest or concern. They do not usually have formal terms of reference, and may or may not include hearing from witnesses, advice from government departments or other sources, or a report to Parliament.
The links below will show more information, on the Parliament website, about four briefings on which Corrections provided written and/or oral evidence to the Justice Committee: