The Inquiry process

1.22 The timetable for the ALRC National Classification Scheme Review is shown below.

24 March 2011

Release of formal Terms of Reference

21 April 2011

Appointment of Lead Commissioner

20 May 2011

Release of Issues Paper and call for submisisons

September 2011

Release of Discussion Paper and call for submissions

November 2011

Deadline for submissions

To January 2012


30 January 2012

Final report and recommendations due to be delivered to the Attorney-General. The report will not be publicly available until it is tabled in Parliament.

1.23 Since the commencement of the Inquiry, the ALRC has developed four strategies for building an evidence base for reform.

1.24 First, an Issues Paper was released in May 2011. In order to better facilitate public submissions, there was an online submission form on the ALRC website, where people could respond directly to questions arising from the Issues Paper by the 15 July 2011 deadline.

1.25 The ALRC received 2,452 submissions, the vast majority of which were not confidential, and are available for viewing from the ALRC website. The ALRC will release additional analysis of the public submissions responding to the Issues Paper questions, making use of qualitative analysis software, during October 2011.

1.26 Secondly, a round of consultations was held with relevant industry, government and community stakeholders in the period May–July 2011 in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. In addition, Professor Flew, as Commissioner, participated in a range of forums as an invited speaker. The agencies, organisations and individuals consulted by the ALRC are listed in Appendix 1.

1.27 Thirdly, internet communication tools, such as an e-newsletter and blog, were used to provide information and obtain comment. Draft Principles for a new National Classification Scheme were posted on an ALRC blog for public comment on 12 August 2011, and had attracted 98 comments by the September 2 closure date. The ALRC has also made use of a Facebook page and Twitter feed to provide information on media reports related to classification issues.

1.28 In addition to the contribution of expertise by way of consultations and submissions, specific expertise is also obtained in ALRC inquiries through the establishment of its Advisory Committees. While the ultimate responsibility for the final Report and recommendations remains with the Commissioners of the ALRC, the establishment of a panel of experts as an Advisory Committee, as appropriate to the Terms of Reference, is an invaluable aspect of ALRC inquiries. Advisory Committees assist in the identification of key issues, provide quality assurance in the research and consultation effort, and assist with the development of reform proposals. A full list of the Advisory Committee members and Commissioners is set out at the front of this Discussion Paper.