I’ve mentioned before that I Chair the Senate’s Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee (often called ECITA for short). Being Chair does put a much greater obligation on me to turn up to public hearings (something I often can’t do for other committees because I simply don’t have the time), but it is also a great privilege. I have a strong preference for Committee inquiries that are as non-partisan as possible, and there is more scope for helping to make this happen from the position of Chair.
Last Friday saw the first public hearing of the Committee’s inquiry into National Parks and protected areas, with evidence from a range of people. It was all useful, but I found the input from the Australian Ranger Federation particularly interesting, along with the material from the IUCN and WWF.
This Inquiry has already received over 165 submissions, which is a good sign of wide public interest in this important issue.
The Committee has also managed to get the Senate to adopt another inquiry reference (this is not as easy as it sounds these days, as many proposed inquiries are being rejected by the Senate now that the Government has control of it).
The new inquiry is into women’s sport. The terms of reference can be found by clicking here. The deadline for submissions is not until June, so there is plenty of time to put something in and to draw it to the attention of anyone who might be interested. (In case you’re wondering, sport is covered as part of the Arts portfolio. It would be better if it was specifically named in the Committee’s title, but I guess it’s already a long enough mouthful as it is.)