2.71       The processes and mechanisms for developing and scrutinising Commonwealth laws aim to encourage public and political officials to assess policies and laws to determine whether an encroachment on a fundamental right, freedom or privilege is justified. The following areas may be reviewed to enhance the ability of committees to perform a constructive role in the scrutiny of legislation:

  • guidance materials and assistance at the legislative drafting and policy development stages, particularly in relation to the application of post-implementation review mechanisms or sunset clauses for legislation which intrudes on fundamental, rights freedoms and privileges;

  • oversight of explanatory material and statements of compatibility prior to parliamentary committee scrutiny;

  • the scope of and relationship between the committees, with particular attention on what each of the scrutiny committees focuses upon;

  • the procedures of scrutiny committees, particularly in relation to minimum timeframes for committee scrutiny, and the role of committee members in bringing the committee’s concerns to the Parliament’s attention.