Welcome to About the House.
Australia and New Zealandshare a similar legal and parliamentaryhistory but, in practise, have very different systems.
As part of an annual committeeexchange between the two parliaments, the New Zealandparliament Select Committee for Government Administrationrecently visited Canberra.
Chairperson of the committee,the Honourable Ruth Dyson, MP, explained the roleof this committee and how it differs from theAustralian committee system.
So our Select Committeeis the smallest one in the New Zealand parliament.
We only have six members.
And there's only fiveof those members here.
We deal with a very broadrange of financial reviews and inquiries.
Plus, we get a lot of differentlegislation referred to us.
So GovernmentAdministration doesn't tell you the tale, thename, unlike others.
For example, LocalGovernment and Environment that tells you thestory of the committee.
But ours has a muchbroader brief than many.
We look at a lot ofthe regulatory regimes.
We look at the makeupof statutory boards, such as boards thatmonitor tradespeople.
We look at the Department ofPrime Minister and Cabinet and the running ofparliament itself.
But another difference isthat our select committees tend to focus on legislationrather than inquiries.
And the Australian system hasmuch better focus on inquiries.
I think yourparliament, as a whole, is better informed as a resultof that focus on inquiries, whereas we focus on, a specificproposal and legislation.
In theory, really,will the government agree to us having inquiries? I think we're worseoff as a result.
So we'll be takingback some hints on that to our government.
Australia and New Zealand areboth facing similar challenges when it comes topopulation health.
The delegation was particularlyinterested to learn about Australia's approach todealing with the health issues associated with gambling.
Well, I think Australia'swell ahead of us in looking at the public healthissues concerned with gambling.
That's something we havebacked off quite a lot.
And I think Australia'sshown some courage in a really serious issue.
We know that people literallytake their own lives as a result of harm donethrough problem gambling.
We want to pick this issue up.
We're looking at avariety of issues– captioning of parliamentand other, you know, movies, TV, etc.
We're looking at fireworksgiven that you don't have private purchase of fireworks.
And we're looking atgender representation on boards and parliamentand in our community.
So we've got quite a wide brief.
I think, more thananything, we're probably just looking tomeet some very good people that we can make friends withand retain that relationship.
That's a really importantpart of an exchange program.
To find out more about how theAustralian parliament connects with other parliaments,visit aph.