Business of Joint Committee

We have a quorum and will commence in public session. I have an immediate difficulty to put to members, that is, that Deputies are required to be in the convention centre at or before 4.45 p.m. As such, I propose that we try to get as much of our business done as we can within the next 55 to 60 minutes. I apologise to the Senators but it would be neither fair nor feasible for the committee to proceed without the Deputies. I ask Senators to exercise due deference in this regard.

I was very keen, as I am sure members were, that we should have our first meeting before the end of the month. I know members are particularly busy with a number of committees sitting today and I ask for their forbearance in that regard. I am really looking forward to working with all the members, most of whom are known to me and some of whom are first timers. We have a very good team. I have no doubt that we will bring our combined skills, experience, enthusiasm, energy and expertise to bear on our work programme. I know we will discharge the functions we are required to undertake in an efficient way.

At the outset, as in all meetings, I ask members to ensure their mobile telephones are completely turned off or in flight mode for the duration of the meeting. The flight mode button should be familiar to all members of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, although we are not going anywhere today. I am advised by the secretariat that it is not sufficient to put telephones on silent as that will not mitigate the level of interference with the broadcasting system. I am keen to ensure members comply with that request.

The nomination and election of a Vice Chairman is on our agenda today. Given that it is our first meeting, I propose that members email the clerk with their nominations. The clerk will then submit the nominations to me and I will be in contact with individual members to discuss the matter. We will then proceed at our next meeting to elect a Vice Chairman in public session. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I propose that we go into private session to deal with the second item on the agenda. Is that agreed? Agreed.

The joint committee went into private session at 3.20 p.m. and resumed in public session at 4.15 p.m.