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Notes to Assist in the Preparation of Submissions to Committee Inquiries
The following advice is offered to assist in the preparation of written submissions to Committees.

There is no prescribed form for a written submission to a parliamentary committee. Submissions may be in the form of a letter, a substantial paper or a short document. Appendices and other supporting documents may be appended to submissions. Submissions may contain facts, opinions, arguments and recommendations for action.

The submission may cover all of the points raised in the Terms of Reference of the committee's inquiry or a selection of them. The Terms of Reference usually provide a good framework for structuring a submission.

Where possible, submissions should be typed on A4 paper. This helps reproduction of the submission for committees.

The preferred format for documents provided on disc is Microsoft Word 6.0. Submissions may also be E-mailed. Such documents should be forwarded in a 'hard copy' form.

The submission should be signed by the author either on his/her own behalf or on behalf of an organisation. Those signing submissions on behalf of an organisation should indicate what level the submission has been authorised (eg, sub-committee, executive committee, president, chair, state branch, regional group etc).

There may be submissions which an author would prefer not be made public. In this case the author may request that the submission (or part of it) remain confidential. This should be clearly indicated in the submission.

If it is desired that part only of the submission remain confidential that part should be submitted separately if possible. The committee will then consider the request for confidentiality.

The protections of 'Parliamentary Privilege' are drawn to your attention. Briefly, for the purpose of a committee's inquiry, unless otherwise decided, a written submission may be deemed by the committee to be the giving of evidence. Its presentation to the committee and the committee's publication and the circulation of it attracts the protection of parliamentary privilege. Thus, no action of any kind may be taken against a person for making a submission and no submission may be used in courts or tribunals to question the truth, motives or credibility of any person.

Once a submission has been received by a committee it must not be published or disclosed to any other person in that form without the committee's authorisation. If its publication is not authorised, not only is it not protected by parliamentary privilege but publication may also be a contempt of Parliament.

A committee may not accept a submission that is not relevant to the committee's inquiry. The committee will inform you if it decides not to accept your submission.

Authors of submissions are sometimes asked to give oral evidence before a committee at a public hearing. Such questioning allows the committee to examine particular issues in greater detail, and the author has an opportunity to amplify points made, or provide additional information.

The committee investigatory process falls into four distinct phases: 

  • The Committee advertises its Terms of Reference and calls for submissions.
  • The Committee gathers information, including fact and opinion found in submissions and presented in public hearings.
  • The Committee considers the arguments, evidence and data it has gathered. Findings and recommendations are agreed upon.
  • The Committee tables a report, including its recommendations, in the Parliament.
Submissions become Committee documents and are made public only after a decision by the Committee.  Persons making submissions must not release them without the approval of the Committee.  Submissions are protected by parliamentary privilege but the unauthorised release of them is not.  The Committee encourages the lodgement of submissions in electronic form.  Emailed submissions must include name, phone number and postal address.  Guidelines for witnesses and the preparation of a submission are available on the Internet at http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au or by phoning the Secretary.

Should you require any further information concerning the preparation of submissions please contact:

Contact Address:

Committees Secretariat 
House of Assembly 
Parliament House 
Hobart, Tas. 7000

Telephone: (03) 6233 2248    Fax: (03) 6223 3803 

E-mail: committees@parliament.tas.gov.au

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