The Business Committee makes decisions on many aspects of the proceedings of the House and its committees. These decisions are known as “determinations” and take effect from the time they are released.
Every party is represented on the committee. The committee makes its decisions on a basis of near-unanimity, which means that agreement is given by members representing the overwhelming majority of members of Parliament. This ensures that there is a general consensus supporting any decision made by the committee.
There are a wide variety of decisions that the Business Committee can make. It can determine when and how the debate of a particular item of business will proceed. This might include setting the number of speeches for particular debates, agreeing that a particular bill may progress to later stages faster than usual, or deciding when members’ maiden or valedictory statements are to take place. It can decide when an extended sitting will occur, and the business to be considered during that sitting. It agrees to a roster allocating oral questions and speeches in the general debate. Towards the end of each year, it recommends a sitting programme for the next year to be adopted by the House.
The committee also makes a number of decisions affecting select committees, including setting and changing the membership of committees, extending the date by which a committee must report a bill to the House, or allowing a committee to meet elsewhere in the country while the House is sitting.
The determinations are published on the Business Committee page of the Parliament website.