Performance Report

Program 1: Key Performance Indicators

The ALRC measures the success of Program 1 in delivering its objective, through the following key performance indicators:

  • the level of implementation that ALRC reports achieve by Government and other bodies, substantially or partially, over time;
  • the number of citations or references to ALRC reports and recommendations in parliamentary debates, in court citations and decisions, and in academic publications and other publications;
  • readership of the ALRC’s reports and consultation papers (distributed and accessed via the ALRC and the ALRC’s website);
  • the number of submissions to each inquiry;
  • the number of presentations and speaking engagements about the ALRC’s inquiries; and
  • the number of media mentions of ALRC reports and recommendations.

Table 3: Key Achievements 2010–11




Implementation of reports 80% 90%
Citations and mentions 40 73
Final Reports by hard copy/CDROM 1,000 1,261 hardcopy
731 CDs
Final Reports accessed online 1,800 6,375 unique views
Consultation papers hard copy/CDROM 1,000 Nil*
Consultation papers accessed online 3,000 13,260 unique views
Submissions received 100 196
Presentations and speaking engagements 20 19
Media reportage 250 327

* A decision to produce Consultation Papers only online was made as a productivity saving.

Percentage of reports implemented by those to whom recommendations are targeted

Graph: Substantial implementation 60%; partial implementation 30%; Nil implementation 5%; Under consideration 5%

The ALRC has no direct role in implementing its recommendations. As there is no statutory requirement for the Australian Government to respond formally to ALRC reports, the ALRC monitors major developments in relation to issues covered in its past reports, and assesses the level of implementation that those reports have achieved. It is not uncommon for implementation to occur some years after the completion of a report.

The ALRC considers that a report is substantially implemented when the majority of the report’s recommendations, including key recommendations, have been implemented by those to whom the recommendations are directed. Partial implementation refers to implementation of at least some recommendations of an ALRC report. The ALRC takes a conservative approach when considering whether a report should be characterised as having been ‘partially’ or ‘substantially’ implemented. The term ‘proposals under consideration’ applies to reports that have received a positive response from those to whom the recommendations are directed, but are still awaiting implementation, and to those reports that have been completed within the past two years and are yet to receive a formal response.

Legislative and other implementation activity in the 2010–11 year, as described in Appendix G, has altered the levels of status of implementation of all ALRC reports with the following results:

  • 60% of reports had been substantially implemented;
  • 30% of reports had been partially implemented;
  • 5% of reports without any implementation to date were currently under consideration; and
  • 5% of reports had not been implemented.

Appendix G provides a detailed update on action in relation to ALRC reports during 2010–11.

Appendix H provides a brief overview of the implementation status of all 79 inquiry-related ALRC reports.

Substantial implementation

As at 30 June 2011, the ALRC had completed 79 inquiry-related reports. Forty-seven of those reports (60%) have been substantially implemented.

During 2010–11, there were no further ALRC Reports substantially implemented. Thus, with two new final reports produced in that year, the percentage of all reports that can be categorised as substantially implemented dropped by one percent, from 61%.

See Appendix G for further details.

Partial implementation

Twenty-four reports (30% of all ALRC inquiry-related reports) have been partially implemented. This represents two more reports in the category of partial implementation than at 30 June 2010.

For example, the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on 24 March 2011, when enacted, will implement Recommendation 6–4 of the ALRC’s report Family Violence: A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 114, 2010). The recommendation provided for a revised and broader definition of ‘family violence’ in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

The other report that was partially implemented was Fighting Words: A Review of Sedition Laws in Australia (ALRC Report 104, 2006). Schedule 1 of the National Security Legislation Amendment Act 2010, which commenced on 24 November 2010, implements a number of recommendations in Fighting Words, including the removal of the term ‘sedition’ from federal criminal law and replacing it with references to ‘urging violence offences’. See Appendix G for further details.

‘The recommendations in this report are helping to shape the Government’s response to this complex issue, including by influencing the landmark Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2011 that is currently before this Parliament.’

Government response to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the ALRC.

Under consideration

In 2010–11, there remain four ALRC reports that are under consideration by Government: Managing Discovery: Discovery of Documents in Federal Courts (ALRC Report 115, 2011), Making Inquiries: A New Statutory Framework (ALRC Report 111, 2010), Secrecy Laws and Open Government in Australia (ALRC Report 112, 2010) and Privilege in Perspective: Client Legal Privilege in Federal Investigations (ALRC Report 107, 2008). These represent 5% of all ALRC reports. See Appendix G for further details.

Nil implementation

Four of the 79 inquiry-related reports completed by the ALRC (5%) have not been implemented at all, and do not appear to be under consideration. Two of these reports cover the same topic, that of public interest standing: Standing in Public Interest Litigation (ALRC Report 27, 1985) and Beyond the Door-Keeper: Standing to Sue for Public Remedies (ALRC Report 78, 1996). The other two reports are Product Liability (ALRC Report 51, 1989) and Administrative Penalties in Customs and Excise (ALRC Report 61, 1992).

‘From this (implementation rate) it is clear that the ALRC’s process of developing recommendations for reform is leading to reports that are effective, relevant and practicable in our changing economic, social, and cultural world. While reports of this calibre are clearly critical to providing sound advice to the Australian Government, the authoritative and comprehensive analysis contained in the reports is also relied upon in academic and judicial environments.’

Submission by Macquarie University Law School to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the ALRC.

Court citations

Past ALRC reports are cited by Australian courts and tribunals as well as in numerous academic articles and other publications. During 2010–2011, there were more than 73 references to ALRC reports in decisions of major Australian courts and tribunals. These included three from the High Court of Australia, 17 from the Federal Court of Australia, and 45 from state and territory Supreme Courts or Courts of Appeal, as well as decisions of other major courts and tribunals.

This number represents an increase of 14% in the number of judgments from major Australian courts referring to ALRC reports when compared with the 2009–10 year.

It is interesting to note the range of reports that have been cited this year, from Alcohol, Drugs and Driving (ALRC Report 4, 1976) up to the most recent, Managing Discovery: Discovery of Documents in Federal Courts (ALRC Report 115, 2011).

A list of these court citations is provided at Appendix I.

Public debate

The ALRC actively promotes public debate on issues raised by its current and past inquiries, and on law reform generally. The ALRC monitors public discourse by keeping a register of media reports, journal articles, conference papers and parliamentary debates. This media log is provided at Appendix K.

Media interest

During 2010–2011, the ALRC identified 327 mentions of its work, both past and present, by the media.

The ALRC’s Privacy Report, For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice, attracted the lion’s share (31%) of media attention during the reporting period, as it has done each year since its tabling in August 2008. This attention is partly due to the referral in late June 2010 of an exposure draft of new Australian Privacy Principles to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee for inquiry and report, followed by an Exposure Draft for credit reporting provisions in January 2011. There were also several high-profile stories involving privacy invasion reported in the media throughout the year, which prompted new calls for privacy law reform.

The high level of general public interest in the Review of the National Classification Scheme is evident from the relatively high level of attention it also received in the media during the reporting period (26%), despite the fact that the Review was only announced in December 2010, and only officially commenced in May 2011.

The two Inquiries completed during the reporting period, Family Violence (report tabled 11 November 2010) and Discovery of Documents in Federal Courts (report tabled May 2011) each received 10% of the media mentions.

There were also 22 (7%) articles in the media relating to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the ALRC (see Special Features section).

Media releases

The ALRC issues media releases and briefing information at key stages in each inquiry. Media releases are distributed to general and specialised media outlets, as well as to individuals and organisations that have expressed a specific interest in receiving information from the ALRC. They are also available on the ALRC’s website.

In 2010–11, the ALRC distributed nine media releases. A full list of media releases is provided at Appendix K.

Consultations and consultation documents

Consultation lies at the heart of the ALRC’s inquiry process. During an inquiry, the ALRC holds meetings with relevant stakeholders, both individuals and organisations, nationally, to assist the ALRC to identify the key issues involved, to shape the research questions and to contribute to the ALRC’s policy analysis and consideration. During 2010–11, the ALRC conducted a total number of 101 consultations around the country—Discovery Inquiry (36), Commonwealth Laws and Family Violence Inquiry (45), National Classification Review (20).

The number of consultation papers released in the course of an inquiry is dependent on both the nature of that inquiry and the inquiry timeframe that is set by the Attorney-General. In the past, ALRC inquiries have usually followed a two-stage consultation process that included production and distribution of an Issues Paper, followed by a call for submissions, release of a Discussion Paper followed by a further call for submissions, and then release of a Final Report.

All ALRC consultation documents are provided at no charge through the ALRC’s website in both HTML and PDF versions. The ALRC usually prints a number of hard copy documents and distributes them to key stakeholders for each inquiry, including those who have made a formal submission to the ALRC on the Inquiry. The number of consultation papers printed and distributed in hard copy is dependent on a number of factors including: the nature of each inquiry; the interest and engagement of stakeholders; and the ALRC’s financial situation. Therefore the number of documents printed and distributed each year will vary and is difficult to predict, prior to knowing the nature of upcoming inquiries.

The target for the hard copy distribution of Final Reports for 2010–11 was 1,000 hard copies distributed. This figure was based on two inquiries and producing two Final Reports. The ALRC distributed 1,261 hard copy Final Reports in this reporting period.

The target for the hard copy distribution of Consultation Papers for 2010–11 was 1,000 hard copies distributed. The ALRC distributed no hard copy Consultation Papers in this reporting period because the ALRC has moved to producing its consultation papers online, rather than in hard copy, as a budget measure, and to achieve productivity savings.

‘A particularly important part of the ALRC research methodology is consultation with targeted stakeholders and the community. Consultation processes, such as those conducted at the ALRC, are important for a number of reasons including: ensuring the independence and transparency of the law reform process; increasing community understanding and engagement; and achieving better informed outcomes.

One of the great benefits of the ALRC’s methods of operation over many years has been its ability to go well beyond ‘the usual suspects’ and to engage the wider community, including disadvantaged, marginalised and other segments of the community that rarely have a voice in public policymaking.’

Submission by Macquarie University Law School to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the ALRC.

Table 4: Distribution Figures for Reports and Consultation Documents

Consultation Paper and Final Reports Date released Hard copy access Online access
Consultation Paper
Discovery in Federal Courts (CP 2)
November 2010 N/A 5,699 page views
2,036 unique views
Final Report
Family Violence: A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 114)
November 2010 848 15,555 page views
5,185 unique views
Final Report
Family Violence: A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 114 Summary)
November 2010 439 5,994 page views
2,051 unique views
Issues Papers
Commonwealth Family Violence—
March 2011    
Employment and Superannuation Law (IP 36)   N/A 2,554 page views
848 unique views
Immigration Law (IP 37)   N/A 2,337 page views
805 unique views
Child Support & Family Assistance (IP 38)   N/A 2,181 page views
766 unique views
Social Security (IP 39)   N/A 2,011 page views
721 unique views
Final Report
Managing Discovery: Discovery of Documents in Federal Courts (ALRC Report 115)
May 2011 413 3,963 page views
1,190 unique views

Final Report
Managing Discovery: Discovery of Documents in Federal Courts (ALRC Report 115 Summary)

May 2011


1,722 page views
486 unique views

Issues Paper
National Classification Scheme Review (IP 40)
May 2011 N/A 13,648 page views
6,033 unique views


The number of submissions received by the ALRC is also a measure of the public’s engagement with its work and the extent to which the consultation papers have stimulated debate and discussion. However, the number of submissions received for any inquiry is also a function of the subject matter of the inquiry. Some inquiries are of great interest and relevance to many diverse stakeholders and community groups, for example, the National Classification Scheme Review. Other inquiries are of more specific interest to a specialist group of stakeholders and elicit a smaller number of submissions, for example, the Discovery of Documents in Federal Courts.

Table 5: Number of Submissions Received 2010–11

Consultation Paper

Submissions due by

Submissions received

Consultation Paper
Family Violence: Improving Legal Frameworks (CP 1)

June 2010


Consultation Paper
Discovery in Federal Courts (CP 2)

January 2011


Issues Papers
Commonwealth Family Violence (IP 36-39)

April 2011


Issues Paper
National Classification Scheme Review (IP 40)

July 2011


Total submissions received



* These submissions were received after the due date for submissions had passed but were still considered for the Final Report. The total number of submissions received over the course of the Family Violence Inquiry was 240 submissions.

** The total number of submissions received in response to the Issues Paper for the Classification Inquiry was 2,450 submissions.

Presentations and speaking engagements

The ALRC Commissioners and Senior Staff speak at conferences, seminars and other functions about the work of the ALRC. This encourages community education, and engagement with, the work of the ALRC and the process of law reform more generally. A full list of presentations is at Appendix J.

‘The ADFVC was named as one of the consulting bodies in the terms of reference for the ALRC inquiry into specified family violence laws and legal frameworks to improve the safety of women and children. This was an inquiry into a complex and highly contested area of the law. The ADFVC was impressed by the capacity of the ALRC to consolidate and process the range of issues raised by the inquiry in the short time frame allocated.

During the inquiry the ALRC demonstrated an excellent capacity to involve and represent the positions of a wide range of stakeholders through respectful consultation.’

Submission by the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the ALRC.

‘Australians are free to make submissions and know that their views will be heard and will be considered impartially. The continued existence of the strong ALRC is imperative to a fair and decent society in Australia.’

Submission by the Rule of Law Institute of Australia to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the ALRC.

‘The independence of the ALRC distinguishes it from other sources of law reform advice and analysis, such as Government departments, industry bodies and not-for-profit organisations. In our experience, the ALRC’s independence allows it to provide impartial and robust law reform recommendations to the Australian Parliament.’

Submission by the Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic) to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the ALRC.