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 or past inquiry 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 one written submission to the Disability Reform Council regarding their consultation paper for a National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguarding Framework.
Mentions in Parliament
During 2014–15, Parliamentary Hansard records that ALRC reports and recommendations were referred to in second reading speeches and other Parliamentary proceedings on the following Commonwealth bills:
- Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015;
- Freedom of Information Amendment (Requests and Reasons) Bill 2015;
- Social Security Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Job Seeker Compliance Framework) Bill 2014;
- Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Classification Tools and Other Measures) Bill 2014.
In addition, ALRC reports and recommendations were referred to in Parliamentary Committee proceedings in relation to family violence in Australia, a review of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (Cth), and the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
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 2014–15
Serious Invasions of Privacy
Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws
Review of Native Title Act 1993
In September 2014, the ALRC set up a public wiki for its Freedoms Inquiry to conduct a survey of Commonwealth laws that encroach on traditional rights, freedoms and privileges. The Wiki consisted of a set of collaborative online documents that external participants could contribute to.
This innovative approach to working collaboratively with stakeholders saw the ALRC nominated, and shortlisted as a finalist, for the 2015 Australian Government ICT Awards in the Excellence in e-Government category.
The ALRC’s following on Twitter has grown in the reporting period from 7,990 to 9,590 followers.
The ALRC Twitter handle is @AusLawReform.