Parliamentary Standing Committees

Parliament automatically resolves itself into the Committee of the Whole House under the Chairmanship of the Speaker when debating a Private or Government Bill. They are often referred to as the ‘workhorses’ of a Parliament. It is at the Committee stage that the text of parliamentary bills is revised and refined to ensure that it is correct and ready for debate by the full Parliament

Parliamentary Committees are part of the oversight mechanisms that operate in parliamentary democracies. They are expected to pay close attention to bills put forward by government and raise questions and concerns about what the legislation is intended to achieve, and how. One of the most important and potentially powerful committees is the Public Accounts Committee. Its job is to scrutinize how government through ministries, departments and other agencies spends public money.

Committees are able to liaise with the wider society about proposed legislation. They can invite submissions from civil society organizations, the private sector and academics about the issues that a parliamentary bill is intended to address.

Special or standing committees may also be formed. These committees may not include more that seven Members. Each committee appoints it's own chairman. The chairman of the committee has the same power and duties as the speaker of Parliament on all matters which Parliament refers to that committee.


© Parliament of the Republic of Vanuatu 2024