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Standing committees are appointed by the Legislative Assembly and established for the duration of a Parliament (usually four years). Therefore, a standing committee remains in existence until the Assembly expires by effluxion of time or dissolution before an election. It is usually reappointed in the next Parliament.
The Legislative Assembly has four portfolio-based Standing Committees:
Public Accounts Committee
Education and Health Standing Committee
Economics and Industry Standing Committee
Community Development and Justice Standing Committee
The standing committees enhance the capacity of the Legislative Assembly to scrutinise the activities of government and to examine issues that are of concern to the Western Australian people. Each standing committee comprises five members of the Legislative Assembly. Standing committees can initiate their own inquiries into matters within their portfolio jurisdiction. The House can also refer matters to a standing committee. Standing committees have the power to take evidence and summons witnesses. Typically an inquiry conducted by a standing committee will result in a report being tabled in the Legislative Assembly.
The Legislative Assembly also administers two joint standing committees, which are appointed jointly by both Houses:
This committee is established pursuant to section 216A of the Corruption and Crime Commission Act 2003 to carry out certain functions conferred by that Act. It has four members (two from each chamber) and has established terms of reference in the Legislative Assembly’s Standing Orders.
This committee is established on motion in both Houses pursuant to section 51 of the Commissioner for Children and Young People Act 2006. Its function is to monitor, review and report to Parliament on the exercise of the functions of the Commissioner for Children and Young People. Membership is also fixed at two members from each House.
Another important committee of the Legislative Assembly is the Procedure and Privileges Standing Committee. This committee examines and reports to the House on the procedures of the House and on issues concerning parliamentary privilege.
Select committees can also be established by resolution of the House to conduct a specialised inquiry into a particular matter and within established terms of reference. Select committees have a relatively short duration and dissolve once they have reported to the House or the Parliament is prorogued, whichever occurs first. There have been no select committees of the Legislative Assembly since the establishment of the Standing Committee system in 2000.