This Discussion Paper Summary provides an overview of the policy framework and the proposals and questions contained in the full Discussion Paper—available online. The full Discussion Paper sets out in detail the issues raised by the Terms of Reference, the research behind the proposals and questions and a thorough analysis and discussion of stakeholder views and the ALRC’s views to date.

This document is designed specifically with stakeholders in mind, acknowledging the substantial involvement of many in the Inquiry to date, and the familiarity with the issues as set out in the four Issues Papers released in February and March 2011 and subsequent round of consultations. It provides the essential minimum for easy access to the ALRC’s thinking at this critical stage in the Inquiry produced for stakeholders with considerable understanding of the various issues in focus in the particular areas under review.

The Summary begins with the conceptual framework that underpins the development of the proposals. This is followed by an outline of the structure of the Discussion Paper—its 22 chapters divided into seven parts—including the proposals and questions for response. The full Discussion Paper can be read online or downloaded in this structured way, so that stakeholders interested in understanding the full thinking behind the proposals in the particular areas reflected in the discrete parts may choose the part or parts they would like to explore further. The parts and their chapters provide a manageable format in which to navigate the complex details of each area and the evidence base that supports the ideas.

How to make a submission

With the release of this Discussion Paper, the ALRC invites individuals and organisations to make submissions in response to the specific proposals and questions, or to any of the background material and analysis provided, to help advance the reform process in this Inquiry.

There is no specified format for submissions and they may be marked confidential if preferred. The ALRC prefers electronic communications and submissions, and strongly encourages stakeholders to make use of the online submission form available on the ALRC website. However, the ALRC will gratefully accept anything from handwritten notes to detailed commentary and scholarly analyses on relevant laws and practices. Even simple dot-points are welcome. Submissions will be published on the ALRC website, unless they are marked confidential.[1]

The ALRC appreciates that tight deadlines for making submissions place considerable pressure upon those who wish to participate in ALRC inquiries. Given the deadline for delivering the final report to the Attorney-General at the end of November 2011, and the need to consider fully the submissions received in response to this Discussion Paper, all submissions must be submitted on time—by Friday 30 September 2011.

It is the invaluable work of participants that enriches the whole consultative process of ALRC inquiries. The quality of the outcomes is assisted greatly by the understanding of contributors in needing to meet the deadline imposed by the reporting process itself. This Inquiry is no exception.

In order to ensure consideration for use in the final report, submissions addressing the questions and proposals in this Discussion Paper must reach the ALRC by Friday 30 September 2011.

The ALRC encourages stakeholders to use the online submission form available at <>.

Submissions not marked confidential will be published on the ALRC website.

[1] Submissions provided only in hard copy may not be published on the website.