Participation in external inquiries
Often through its inquiry work the ALRC has already conducted valuable research into areas of law or legal processes that become subject to review by other agencies or Parliamentary Committees. Where appropriate and relevant, the ALRC provides briefings or written submissions to Parliamentary Committees, Ministers, government departments, and other bodies. In this way, the experience and knowledge the ALRC develops during inquiries is shared for the benefit of the Australian community.
The ALRC is guided by a protocol that outlines when it is appropriate for the ALRC to give a briefing or to make an external submission. The considerations include:
- the consonance of issues raised in the review or inquiry being undertaken by the external body with issues covered in current inquiry work or past reference work of the ALRC;
- the consonance of issues raised in the review or inquiry being undertaken by the body and the expertise and knowledge of current Commissioners and staff members; and
- the availability of, and impact upon, ALRC resources.
Where appropriate, submissions are made available on the ALRC website.
During the reporting period, the ALRC made two written submissions drawing on past inquiries. These are listed in Appendix K.
Mentions in Parliament
During 2013–14, Parliamentary Hansard records that ALRC reports and recommendations were referred to in second reading speeches and other Parliamentary proceedings on the following Commonwealth bills:
- Privacy Amendment (Privacy Alerts) Bill 2014
- Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Classification Tools and Other Measures) Bill 2014
- Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Bill 2014
In addition, the ALRC report Copyright and the Digital Economy (ALRC Report 122) was mentioned in a Parliamentary speech, and in Questions without Notice.
During the reporting period the ALRC published regular e-newsletters for each of its current inquiries, as well as the ALRC Brief (published 3–4 times a year). E-newsletters are distributed to subscribers who opt in via an online form or by direct request.
Table 6: Distribution of e-newsletters 2013–14
Copyright and the Digital Economy
Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era
Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws
Review of Native Title Act 1993
The ALRC ran an online discussion forum for the Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era Inquiry, which opened just prior to the release of the Issues Paper in October 2013 and ran until May 2014. The forum sought views from individuals about their privacy concerns, the need to balance privacy with other interests, and ideas about ‘seriousness’. The forum attracted 33 comments.
The ALRC’s following on Twitter has grown in the reporting period from 5,753 to 7,990 followers.
The ALRC Twitter handle is @AusLawReform.
To increase exposure of the ALRC’s Copyright Inquiry, which had many internet-savvy stakeholders comfortable aggregating news and engaging in discussion via social media, the ALRC created a Facebook page dedicated to the Inquiry.
The page was closed on 20 June 2014.