Department of the Legislative Assembly

Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee 12th Assembly

Terms of Reference - Former Inquiries - Reports - Contact

The role of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee is to inquire, report and make recommendations upon such constitutional and legal matters as may be referred to it by the Attorney-General or resolution of the Assembly. In addition, on 23 October 2012 the Assembly resolved that: 

During the present session of the Assembly, and notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders, that the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee be assigned the powers and functions of the Subordinate Legislation and Publications Committee as laid out in the standing orders.

Terms of Reference

(Standing Order 178)
(1)     A Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee will be appointed at the commencement of each Assembly to inquire into and report on such constitutional and legal matters as may be referred to it by:

(a)     the Attorney-General, or
(b)     a resolution of the Assembly.

(2)     The committee will consist of five Members

Please note that, during the 12th Assembly the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee performed the functions of the Subordinate Legislation and Publications Committee as set out in Standing Order 20.

Standing Order 20 provides that the Subordinate Legislation and Publications Committee is to examine and report on all papers that are required to be presented to the Assembly. It also checks whether any proposed determination is legal, does not unduly take away person's rights and complements the Act it is intended to effect.

This Committee also has the responsibility of determining which papers tabled in the Assembly should form part of the Parliamentary Papers series.

On 23 October 2012 the Assembly resolved that:

During the present session of the Assembly and notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders, that the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee be assigned the powers and functions of the Subordinate Legislation and Publications Committee as laid out in standing orders

Information regarding the 12th Assembly Subordinate Legislation and Publications Committee and a list of all Subordinate Legislation and Publications Committee Reports can be found here

Former Inquiries

Options for the Northern Territory to become a State

On 6 December 2012, the Attorney-General referred the Options for the Northern Territory to become a State to the LCAC.  A copy of the referral is here 

Aboriginal Customary Law

In February 2007 the then Attorney-General requested the Committee inquire into and report upon the issue of the recognition of aboriginal customary law as a source of law in the Northern Territory. This was an issue which arose from an earlier Northern Territory Law Society report into customary law.

An information paper which collates the background information to such recognition and previous evidence in this regard previously submitted to this committee, the 1998 Constitutional Convention and the earlier Sessional Committee on Constitutional Developed is currently being prepared for tabling in the Assembly in November 2008.

Inquiry on Northern Territory Indigenous Affairs

On 22 May 2002, the Committee, having regard to the resolution of the Legislative Assembly of 25 October 2001 in providing additional terms of reference, resolved among other things, to conduct an inquiry into matters relating to Indigenous governance in the Northern Territory, in particular, the examination of appropriate relationships that should exist between the Indigenous people/communities of the Northern Territory, the Northern Territory Government and the wider Territory community:

(a) under the present constitutional/legislative arrangements applying in the Northern Territory; and

(b) whether those arrangements might have influence upon a future grant of Statehood to the Northern Territory; including

(c) the question whether the Northern Territory Government should enter into a Framework Agreement or Agreements with the representatives of those Indigenous people/communities.

In elaborating on Framework Agreements, the Committee took into account its 1999 Report into Appropriate Means to Facilitate Statehood which included a discussion of the interests of the Indigenous people of the Northern Territory as part of any grant of Statehood. The report also discussed the subject of a possible Framework Agreement for the Northern Territory, that is, an agreement between the Northern Territory Government, and the representatives of the Indigenous people of the Northern Territory, concerning a range of issues of vital interest to the two parties, and setting out a framework within which the relationship between the two could or should be developed in the future.

Although this Inquiry is not directly tied to Statehood, the Committee is aware that the outcome of this Inquiry is an issue critical to the future success of Statehood.

The Committee has prepared a Discussion Paper in respect of this matter:

Discussion Paper No.1 - Inquiry on Northern Territory Indigenous Affairs: Examination of Structural Relationships in Indigenous Affairs and Indigenous Governance within the Northern Territory - June 2002 

Inquiry into Appropriate Measures to Facilitate Statehood

One of the major tasks undertaken by this Committee was to conduct an inquiry into and report on reasons for the failure of the Northern Territory Referendum of October 1998 and to ascertain support for the Northern Territory gaining Statehood by 2001.

The Committee was also required to recommend to the Assembly appropriate means whereby community support for Statehood could be achieved.

Report into Appropriate Measures to Facilitate Statehood - April 1999

Reports

A list of all Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee reports and publications can be found here

Contact

Ms Julia Knight
Committee Secretary
GPO Box 3721
DARWIN NT 0801
Telephone:  (08) 8901 4149
Email: Contact

Last updated: 18 Jul 2018