Any public contribution to an inquiry is called a submission and these are actively sought by the ALRC from a broad cross-section of the community, as well as those with a special interest in the inquiry. These submissions are crucial in assisting the ALRC to develop its proposals for law reform.
There is no set format for submissions, and they need not be formal documents. Submissions in electronic format are preferred. It is helpful if comments address specific questions or paragraphs in a particular consultation paper.
How the ALRC uses, and provides access to, submissions
Submissions provide part of the evidence base for law reform proposals. For example, submitters may explain their difficulty with complying with a law. Accordingly, it is common for the ALRC to draw upon the contents of submissions and quote from them.
Public submissions may be published on the ALRC website. Private addresses and contact details will be removed from submissions before they are made public. The ALRC will not publish submissions that breach applicable laws, promote a product or a service, contain offensive language, express sentiments that are likely to offend or vilify sections of the community, or which do not substantively comment on the issues relevant to the particular inquiry.
The ALRC also accepts submissions made in confidence. Confidential submissions may include personal experiences where there is a wish to retain privacy, or other sensitive information (such as commercial-inconfidence material). Any request for access to a confidential submission is determined in accordance with the federal Freedom of Information Act 1982, which has provisions designed to protect sensitive information given in confidence.
In the absence of a clear indication that a submission is intended to be confidential, the ALRC will treat the submission as public.